Stock market today: Dow ekes out win after choppy day as focus shifts to Powell

  • Stock Market News
Stock market today: Dow ekes out win after choppy day as focus shifts to Powell

By Yasin Ebrahim -- The Dow eked out a win Monday, after wavering between gains and losses throughout the day as an Apple-led melt-up in tech fizzled out after rates regained momentum ahead of eagerly anticipated testimony from Federal Reserve chairman Jerome Powell .

The Dow Jones Industrial Average added 0.1%, or 40 points, the Nasdaq Composite was down 0.1% and S&P 500 gained 0.1%.

Growth stocks such as tech were forced to give up some gains as U.S. Treasury yields turned positive ahead of Powell’s semi-annual testimony on Capitol Hill that could offer clues on monetary policy.

“The testimony is key because if he [Powell] wishes to influence market pricing for the decisions that will come out of the March 21-22 FOMC meeting then this is his last and best chance to do so,” Scotiabank said in a note.

The testimony from Powell comes just days ahead of the February nonfarm payrolls due Friday and inflation report due next week, both of which are expected to play an important role in the Fed’s thinking on monetary policy measures.

Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL ) jumped about 2% after Goldman Sachs issued a Buy rating on the stock after six years on the sidelines, citing strength in the tech giant’s services business.  

Other big tech stocks also attracted buying pressure, with Alphabet (NASDAQ: GOOGL ) up 1.6% and Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ: MSFT ) up 0.6%.

Tesla (NASDAQ: TSLA ), meanwhile, fell more than 2% after the electric carmaker cut prices in the U.S. for the second time this year to boost demand. Tesla was also dealt a blow by Morgan Stanley removing the EV maker as a ‘top pick’ in favor of Ferrari.

Morgan Stanley lifted its price target on Ferrari NV (NYSE: RACE ) to $310 a share from $280 previously on optimism that the race car company has “levers to pull for both growth or downside protection.”

Materials, meanwhile, were the worst-performing sector down more than 1% weighed down by a fall in commodity prices after China delivered a modest growth outlook of about 5% for 2023. 

In other news, sentiment on homebuilders was soured after JPMorgan doubled downgraded KB Home (NYSE: KBH ) to Neutral, and downgraded DR Horton Inc (NYSE: DHI ) to Neutral, citing valuation concerns.

Boeing (NYSE: BA ), a major Dow component, kept the broader market's gains in check amid reports a software issue threatens to delay deliveries of its 737 MAX and 787 jets by up to a year.

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