Stocks are steady as the S&P 500 eyes the 5,000 mark

U.S. stocks were little changed on Thursday, after hitting new highs in the previous session, as investors cheered the outlook for the chipmaker arm and looked for fresh impetus in the latest batch of company results.

The S&P 500 (^GSPC) hovered around the flatline, hitting 5,000 for the first time after the key benchmark closed up a few points. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (^DJI) fell 0.2%, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq (^IXIC) rose 0.3%.

Strong economic data and upbeat earnings boosted sentiment on Wall Street, helping the S&P 500 close at key psychological levels. But some investors question whether the gains can be sustained as they operate a concentrated group of megacaps.

Arm (ARM) shares surged more than 50% after a strong sales outlook, boosting hopes that AI and technology will boost the market. The chipmaker gave a surprisingly bullish forecast based on its expansion into new areas. Shares of Disney ( DIS ) rose more than 11% as investors welcomed deals with Taylor Swift and Fortnite maker Epic Games.

Meanwhile, traders have pulled back in races for a March interest rate cut due to warnings from central bank officials. Richmond Fed President Tom Parkin is set to add to his comments on Thursday, while the weekly jobless claims report could move the needle on policy expectations for December's blockbuster jobs report.

read more: What the Fed's Rate Decision Means for Bank Accounts, CDs, Loans and Credit Cards

Concerns about deflation in China echoed elsewhere, as data showed consumer prices in the world's second-largest economy fell by the most since 2009 amid the global financial crisis.

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And worse, Danish shipping giant Maersk's ( AMKBY ) warning of a freight slowdown rattled investors. Its shares fell 15% after the company said it would suspend share buybacks.

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  • NYCB shares are reeling amid efforts by the lender to boost confidence

    Shares of New York Community Bank (NYCB) were volatile on Thursday morning as investors approached the lender's latest efforts to boost confidence.

    As Yahoo Finance's David Hollerith points out, the bank on Wednesday shared a financial update, announced the appointment of a new chief executive, Alessandro “Sandro” DiNello, and held a call with analysts aimed at boosting confidence.

    “We're not seeing deposits coming out of our branches,” DiNello told analysts on Wednesday. A former bank analyst said the bank's No. 1 priority will be “building trust” with Wall Street about NYCB's deposits and liquidity.

    Shares fell as much as 7% at Thursday's open, down about 56% since late January when the lender cut its dividend and posted a surprise loss.

    Read more here.

  • Oil gains 2% on Middle East tensions, lower US production forecast

    Crude futures rose on Thursday after the US killed a militant commander in Iraq and Israel rejected Hamas Armistice proposal.

    West Texas Intermediate (CL=F) gained 2% to trade above $75 a barrel, while Brent futures (BZ=F) rose by the same amount to above $80 a barrel.

    “Geopolitical Red Sea risk is returning to crude,” said Dennis Kiesler, senior vice president at BOK Financial.

    In support of the Palestinians, Houthi rebels have been targeting shipping and provoking major shipping companies. to avoid The Red Sea region connects to the Suez Canal, an important route between Asia and Europe.

    The latest data from the Energy Information Administration (EIA) showed balance in both distilleries and gasoline inventories. A sharp decline indicates higher demand, helping to maintain upside pressure on crude prices.

    The EIA cut its domestic production forecast for 2024, predicting that it will not reach the record level of December 2023 until February 2025.

  • Stocks were little changed as the S&P neared the 5,000 milestone

    Stocks opened near the flatline on Thursday after hitting new record highs in the previous session.

    The S&P 500 (^GSPC) fell nearly 0.1%, after the key benchmark fell a few points short of the 5,000 level for the first time.

    The Dow Jones Industrial Average (^DJI) opened slightly higher, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq (^IXIC) closed flatline.

    Shares of Disney ( DIS ) rose as much as % after the company posted smaller-than-expected losses in its entertainment division.

    The entertainment company announced that its new over-the-top (OTT) ESPN streaming service will launch in the fall of 2025.

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