Markets await the release this week of Fed minutes and US jobs data
Wall Street stocks ended mostly down in the first trading session of 2024 after finishing last year with strong gains. The S&P 500 index lost nearly 0.6%, while Dow Jones Industrial Average rose less than 0.1%. Meanwhile, the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite led the losses, losing nearly 1.6% as shares of Apple plunged after Barclays analysts downgraded their rating on the company’s stock, citing concerns about demand for new iPhones. Apple stocks gave up 3.68% to see their biggest one-day percentage drop since September.
In Asia, equities tracked Wall Street’s decline on Wednesday. Hit by a drop in technology shares, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng lost 0.94%. In China, despite persisting concerns regarding the strength of the economic growth, the Shanghai Composite index manage to gain 0.17% after erasing early losses. The index saw heavy losses in 2023. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 was down 1.37%, South Korea’s Kospi slumped 2.34%. MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan fell 1.1%. Japanese markets remained closed for the New Year holiday.
European stocks were little changed at the start of the session, mirroring the mood in US stock index futures, which are flattish so far on Wednesday, with eyes on the release this week of Federal Reserve minutes and US jobs data. The minutes release should attract some trading activity during the US session later today. The Stoxx 600 index was flat in early deals in London after hitting its highest level in nearly two years during the previous session. Still, the benchmark lost momentum before the end of the trading day to close slightly lower.
In currencies, the US dollar jumped on Tuesday to regain the 102.00 figure amid risk aversion. The USD index advanced towards the 102.28 zone today for the first time since December 21, staying elevated during the European trading session. The upside momentum has slowed ahead of the upcoming US data including November JOLTS job openings and December ISM manufacturing PMI data, followed by the Fed’s minutes of the December policy meeting that could set fresh tone for the greenback.