Here are the key updates for investors to kickstart their trading day:
1. Snoozing and Losing
The Dow and the S&P 500 have faced losses for three consecutive days. Although the declines on Wednesday were small, stocks seem to be in a bit of a slump following the significant rally in November. The Nasdaq also saw a slight dip on Wednesday. Investors are examining the latest job data, which suggests a slowdown in the economy.
This has raised hopes that the Federal Reserve might reduce its benchmark interest rate. On Wednesday, private payrolls data turned out to be lower than expected. Thursday will bring the weekly jobless claims, and on Friday, all eyes will be on the November nonfarm payrolls report.
2. Oil Takes a Dip
Not only stocks but also other assets are experiencing a decline. On Wednesday, West Texas Intermediate crude oil dropped by 4% to below $70 per barrel, marking its lowest level since late June. This decrease is happening despite indications from the oil-producing nations in OPEC+ that they may maintain or possibly increase production cuts.
Consequently, gasoline prices have also continued to fall, reaching their lowest point since January. This should provide some relief to Americans as they shop for the holidays and prepare for travel later this month.
3. Wall Street Invokes Main Street
On Wednesday, the CEOs of the largest banks on Wall Street brought their concerns about proposed new capital rules to Capitol Hill. They tried to gain support from Main Street to bolster their argument. JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon told the Senate Banking Committee that the Basel 3 endgame rules would increase the costs of mortgages and small-business loans.
Citigroup CEO Jane Fraser appealed to the heartland, stating that the regulations would create challenges for farmers seeking financing. However, the majority of Democrats were skeptical. Senator Sherrod Brown, the Ohio Democrat who chairs the panel, questioned, “Are you really going to say that tightening regulations on Wall Street will harm working families?”
4. AbbVie’s Latest Agreement
On Tuesday, AbbVie secured its second significant deal in as many weeks by announcing its plan to acquire Cerevel Therapeutics for approximately $8.7 billion. Just last week, the pharmaceutical giant made another significant move by agreeing to purchase Immunogen, a cancer treatment developer, for nearly $10 billion.
These deals are part of AbbVie’s strategy to enhance its drug pipeline, especially with competition arising for its Humira arthritis medication from generic drugs.
Acquiring Cerevel will strengthen AbbVie’s portfolio in psychiatric and neurological treatments. Additionally, Cerevel has an experimental drug aimed at addressing Alzheimer’s disease psychosis and schizophrenia. The completion of the deal is anticipated in the middle of next year.
5. The Consumer Question
According to Walmart CEO Doug McMillon, shoppers are doing better than anticipated as they visit malls and big-box retailers to buy holiday gifts.
However, what will happen in 2024 remains uncertain. McMillon shared that, compared to expectations from last spring or the beginning of last year, there is less softness in shopping at this time of the year. Yet, he cautioned that the outlook for the next year is different.
Despite experiencing deflation in certain areas, there’s no assurance that people will continue purchasing, especially with higher credit card rates affecting budgets. Walmart will also need to work hard to sell more products to compensate for a loss of pricing power. Nonetheless, McMillon emphasized, “we’d rather have lower prices than higher prices,” reflecting a true commitment to offering discounted prices.
Investors are navigating a market with consecutive losses in stocks and oil prices. Wall Street CEOs advocate against new capital rules, while AbbVie makes strategic acquisitions to bolster its drug pipeline. Walmart reports better-than-expected shopper activity, but uncertainties linger for 2024 amid economic challenges and shifting consumer behaviors.