US open: Stocks rise but gains limited, Apple pulls back

by | Sep 8, 2023

(Sharecast News) – US stocks rose on Friday, though gains were extremely limited with very little newsflow on the macro side to drive markets either way.
All three benchmark indices, the Dow, S&P 500 and Nasdaq, were making gains of 0.2-0.3% within the opening hour of trade.

The S&P 500 has been in the red for four out of the past five trading sessions, falling 1.3% overall.

“As we wrap up the first week of September, those trading around historical trends will be quick to note that the declines we are seeing could be just the beginning given the weakness that usually dominates this month,” said Joshua Mahony, market analyst at Scope Markets.

Monetary policy in focus

The economic data calendar was sparse on Friday following a busy few days for key indicators across the US and Europe.

The reaction to better-than-forecast jobless claims figures on Thursday was mixed, since an unexpected decline in filings for unemployment benefits raises concerns that Federal Reserve’s work to cool the economy – to bring down inflation – may not yet be over.

“The market continues to wax and wane with every data release as investors desperately look for signs the end is in sight on interest rate hikes,” said Russ Mould, investment director at AJ Bell.

Investors were still reacting to comments from several Fed members on Thursday who suggested that the central bank is unlikely to raise interest rates at its next meeting later this month.

In an interview with Bloomberg News, New York Fed president John Williams suggested he was happy with rates at current levels: “We’ve done a lot […] Right now, we’ve gotten monetary policy in a very good place. It is having the desired effects. Going forward, we will have to keep watching the data.”

Meanwhile, Dallas Fed president Lorie Logan acknowledged that while “there is work left to do”, a pause in the rate-hiking cycle “could be appropriate”.

Apple rebounds after recent losses

Apple rose 1% after falling 6% over the past three trading sessions on reports that China is banning government officials from using iPhones at work as Beijing looks to reduce its dependence on US tech.

“This acts as a significant headwind to Apple as China is its largest international market and accounts for about 20% of its revenues,” said Victoria Scholar, head of investment at Interactive Investor.

“The developments overshadow Apple’s hotly anticipated iPhone 15 launches next week and comes at a suspicious time given that Chinese smartphone maker Huawei last week released a new rival smartphone. It also shines the line on the risk to the US tech sector from growing US-Sino trade tensions,” Scholar said.

Apple supplier Qualcomm, which sank 7% on Thursday, was also making gains early on.

Goldman Sachs was higher on the news that the investment banking giant would cut underperformers as soon as October – a regular practice that it had paused in during the pandemic – according to the Financial times.

Chevron was in favour despite industrial action beginning at two of its natural-gas plants in Australia. The facilities account for 7% of worldwide liquefied natural-gas volumes.

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