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“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” – Charles Dickens

Morning stock market summary

Below is a snippet of commentary from today’s Morning Lineup. Start a two-week trial to Bespoke Premium to view the full report.  

Futures were already lower ahead of the 8:30 release of the Employment Cost Index (ECI), and things have gotten worse since then as the report came in higher than expected (1.2% vs 1.0%). This year started with a high probability of multiple rate cuts as inflation was expected to decline. Now, the probability of even one rate cut has been marching toward zero as inflation remains stubbornly high. Still on the docket for today, we have the FHFA House Price Index at 9 Am followed by the Chicago PMI at 9:45 and Consumer Confidence at 10 AM. Outside of November 2023, which looks more and more like an aberration, the Chicago PMI has been below 50 since the fall of 2022, and with economists expecting a reading of 45.0 today, it’s not expected to get back into growth mode anytime soon.

After an impressive rally last week, push is coming to shove as the major averages face their first major test of the bounce in the form of the 50-DMA.  While the S&P 500 finished the day higher yesterday, it didn’t quite have enough momentum to close back above its 50-DMA even though it traded briefly above that level intraday.

The picture for the Nasdaq looks similar as it closed just shy of its 50-DMA as well.

One reason for the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq not reclaiming their 50-DMAs is the fact that Microsoft (MSFT), the largest company in both indices, traded down 1% and finished close to its lows for the day.

It wasn’t all bad news from a technical perspective yesterday, though. After coming up just shy of the 50-DMA on Friday, the Philadelphia Semiconductor Index (SOX) opened just below that level on Monday and managed to break through to the upside on an intraday basis and remain there through the close.

While MSFT has been having its troubles recently, shares of Apple (AAPL) have caught a break over the last six trading days, and the former largest company in the world has rallied over 5% taking it back above its 50-DMA for the first time since late January ending what was the longest streak of closes below the 50-DMA since late 2015.

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