Nasdaq set for record close despite Fed's Williams cooling bets on aggressive cuts

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Nasdaq set for record close despite Fed's Williams cooling bets on aggressive cuts -- The Nasdaq gave up some Friday a Federal Reserve official poured cold water on aggressive rate cuts next year, but the tech-heavy index remain on course for a record closing high.  

By 14:28 ET (19:28 GMT), The Nasdaq 100 Futures climbed 0.3% to 16,588.99 to remain on course to top its prior record close on Nov. 21 of 16,573.34. The  Dow Jones Industrial Average was marginally lower, S&P 500 index traded 4 points, or 0.1%, lower, while the

Fed Williams attempts to dent aggressive rate-cut hopes 

New York Fed President John Williams told CNBC in an interview Friday that talk of rate cuts is still "premature" and the central bank could still tighten policy if needed. The New Fed president's remarks rein in some of the aggressive bets on rate cuts markets are expecting for next year, boosting Treasury yields. 

The yield on the 2-year Treasury, which is sensitive to Fed policy decision, rose 4 basis points to 4.441%, while the U.S. 10-year yield was unchanged at 3.929%.

On the economic front, manufacturing activity fell more than expected in December, but services activity , which makes up the bulk of the inflation, increased by more than expected. 

Costco delivers Q1 beat as demand for cheaper goods boos results; Lennar falters on margin guidance

Costco Wholesale (NASDAQ: COST ) stock rose 4.3% after the membership-only retailer posted quarterly sales and profit that beat projections after the close Thursday, helped by demand for cheaper groceries. It also rolled out a special dividend to shareholders.

Costco has moved to keep prices low in a bid to entice budget-conscious shoppers wary of overspending during a time of elevated inflation and interest rates.

Lennar Corporation (NYSE: LEN ) fell more than 3% after its better-than-expected Q4 results were overshadowed by margin guidance for Q1 amid uncertainty about the interest rate backdrop that have have kept mortgage rates elevate.

The weaker-than-expected margin guidance likely "reflects F4Q23 orders with mortgage rate buydowns set to close in F1Q24," Wedbush said in a note.

Docusign reportedly mulling sale; shares jump

DocuSign Inc (NASDAQ: DOCU ) rose more than 13% after the Wall Street journal reported that the company is mulling a sale. 

Talks on a potential sale are in the early stages, according to the report, and the company could potentially attract interest from private equity or tech companies. 

Crude prices notch first weekly gain in two months

{{8849|Oil prices} settled lower Friday, but notched the first weekly gain in two months, boosted by increased optimism over demand growth next year as well as a weaker dollar.

The dollar fell to a four-month low on Thursday after the Federal Reserve signaled lower borrowing costs next year, helping confidence that a stronger U.S. economy will boost crude demand in 2024. 

The International Energy Agency added to this belief by lifting its oil demand forecast for 2024, citing an improvement in the outlook for U.S. demand and lower oil prices.

A weak dollar also makes dollar-denominated oil cheaper for foreign purchasers.

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