Here are the most important updates for investors as they kick off their trading day:
1. New Start
It’s the first trading day of 2024, signaling a fresh beginning. Wall Street is still anticipating a “Santa Claus rally,” a traditionally profitable period covering the last five trading days of one year and the first two of the next.
However, the stock market ended 2023 on a relatively stable note. In the final, shortened trading week of the year, the Dow Jones Industrial Average increased by 0.8%, the Nasdaq Composite remained relatively steady, and the S&P 500 inched up by 0.3%, falling short of its all-time closing high.
While it wasn’t overly exciting, the Dow set a new record, finishing the year with a 13.7% gain. The Nasdaq had an impressive 43.4% rise, fueled by enthusiasm for artificial intelligence, and the S&P 500 closed 2023 with its best winning streak since 2004, posting a 24.2% gain over the year.
2. Oil Trends
In 2023, U.S. crude oil experienced its first year of decline since 2020, dropping by 10%. Concerns about potential oversupply contributed to this downturn. Specifically, West Texas Intermediate decreased by 10.73%, and Brent saw a 10.32% decline.
Despite ongoing geopolitical tensions related to the Middle East conflict, the United States, Brazil, and Guyana achieved historically high levels of crude oil production, surpassing OPEC’s output. While OPEC and its allies have pledged to reduce production by 2.2 million barrels per day in the first quarter of 2024, uncertainties regarding the balance between supply and demand persist.
3. Golf Merger Update
The PGA Tour and Saudi-backed LIV Golf are continuing discussions about their proposed merger beyond the December 31, 2023, deadline, as mentioned in a memo to players from PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan.
While the merger process between the two golf leagues has faced challenges, there may be valid reasons for the delay. Monahan stated that the objective for 2024 is to include Strategic Sports Group, an investor group led by Fenway Sports Group, in addition to Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund and DP World Tour. Monahan expressed that there has been “meaningful progress” in this regard.
4. Top Rank
For the second consecutive year, Chinese electric vehicle manufacturer BYD is set to outpace the leading U.S. competitor, Tesla, in production. BYD reported producing over 3 million new vehicles in 2023.
Although Tesla has not yet disclosed its production and delivery numbers for the fourth quarter, which are anticipated in the coming days, it manufactured 1.35 million cars in the initial three quarters of the year.
BYD offers both battery-powered and hybrid models, potentially ensuring sustained demand at a time when global automakers are grappling with wavering interest in electric vehicles and an increasing reliance on hybrids. In contrast, Tesla exclusively sells fully electric vehicles.
5. Earthquake on New Year’s Day
On New Year’s Day, Japan experienced a powerful 7.6-magnitude earthquake, resulting in the tragic loss of at least 48 lives and leaving tens of thousands of homes without electricity. Coastal residents had to move to higher ground due to tsunami waves striking the western part of the country.
The 48 reported fatalities were concentrated in the Ishikawa prefecture in central Japan, where the earthquake occurred. This event marks Japan’s deadliest earthquake since 2016 when a 7.3-magnitude quake claimed the lives of over 220 people.
As investors start their day in 2024, Wall Street hopes for a profitable “Santa Claus rally” after a stable end to 2023. Oil production sees a 10% drop, and the PGA Tour and LIV Golf merger faces delays. BYD outpaces Tesla in making cars, and Japan deals with a tragic 7.6-magnitude earthquake.