Stock Market Today: Dow snaps win streak as profit taking triggers sharp reversal

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Stock Market Today: Dow snaps win streak as profit taking triggers sharp reversal -- The Dow closed lower Wednesday, snapping a nine-day winning streak amid a sharp reversal Wednesday as investors appeared to take some profit on the weeks-long rally seen in stocks.

By 16:00 ET (21:00 GMT), the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 475 points, or 1.3%, the S&P 500 fell 1.58%, and the NASDAQ Composite fell 1.5%.  

Profit taking creeps into markets

Investors took profit on the rally in markets that pushed the Dow to all-time highs and the S&P 500 within touching distance of its all-time high, triggering the broadest selloff in markets since March.  

Stocks were in the green intraday following signs of consumer strength and pick up in housing activity. 

The confidence index from the Conference Board jumped to a reading of 110.7,  the highest level since July 2023 and and the second highest level in the last 2 years, driven by "labor market optimism as well as some additional relief on inflation," Jefferies said in a note.

U.S.existing home sales unexpectedly picked up pace in November to to a six-month high from the prior month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.56 million units. Economists were expecting a 0.6% increase to 5.44 million homes. The move comes just as data showed 30-year mortgage rates fell to the lowest level since June.

Weak guidance sees FedEx slump; General Mills falls on guidance cut

That said, investors appear to be taking a breather from this lengthy rally as they digest disappointing news from FedEx (NYSE: FDX ), widely seen as a bellwether for the U.S. economy as it tends to indicate strength, or weakness, in consumer spending.

The parcel delivery firm stock fell 12% after it slashed its full-year revenue guidance and posted weaker-than-anticipated quarterly profit, warning that customer demand will face headwinds from "volatile macroeconomic conditions" for the rest of its fiscal year, ending on May 31. 

The outlook hinted at weakness in typically robust holiday spending activity in the U.S., as consumers continue to cope with high inflation and elevated interest rates.

General Mills Inc (NYSE: GIS ) lowered its annual sales forecast and missed second-quarter estimates as the food processor warned of a slower recovery in demand, sending its shares more than 3% lower. 

Alphabet leads tech higher

Alphabet Inc Class A (NASDAQ: GOOGL ) closed 1% higher, though well off session highs as the tech giant is reportedly mulling a plan to restructure its ad sales business by ramping up the use of automation including machine learning. 

Apple Inc (NASDAQ: AAPL ), Meta Platforms Inc (NASDAQ: META ), and Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ: MSFT ) gave up gains amid a broader market selloff to close below the flatline.

(Peter Nurse contributed to this report.)

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