Stock market today: Live updates

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) on March 20, 2024 in New York City. 

Spencer Platt | Getty Images

Stocks slipped Monday to start a shortened trading week as the rally that brought Wall Street to record levels took a breather.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 162.26 points, or 0.41%, closing at 39,313.64. The S&P 500 dipped 0.31% to finish at 5,218.19, while the Nasdaq Composite was down 0.27% and settled at 16,384.47.

Shares of Intel slid 1.7% after the Financial Times reported that new China guidelines would block the company’s chips in government servers and computers. United Airlines fell 3.4% after the Federal Aviation Administration said it would be heightening its scrutiny of the carrier after a series of safety incidents.

The market is on track for its fifth consecutive month of gains, with the major U.S. stock benchmarks crossing new all-time closing high levels last week. The S&P 500 added roughly 2.3% last week, while the Dow gained just under 2% for its best week since December, nearing the 40,000 level. The Nasdaq Composite, meanwhile, jumped about 2.9% during the period.

These advances were fueled by the Federal Reserve’s latest remarks that maintained central bankers’ rate-cutting timeline for this year, as well as investors’ ongoing enthusiasm for tech stocks amid the AI-powered rally. Overall investor sentiment remains above its historical average, according to the latest weekly American Association of Individual Investors’ sentiment survey, reflecting persistent market optimism.

Still, some investors fear the potential impact of an overextended rally and higher-for-longer interest rates. Sam Stovall, chief investment strategist at CFRA Research, also noted that equities have gotten expensive, with the S&P now trading at a 33% premium to its average price-to-earnings ratio over the last 20 years, he said.

“We’re coming off of a post-FOMC high,” he told CNBC. “The market is getting more and more vulnerable to a market decline or a pullback in prices.”

This week, investors will gain further insight about the path of inflation from the February personal consumption expenditures price index, the Fed’s preferred inflation gauge, released Friday morning. The market’s reaction will be determined on the following Monday, given the Good Friday holiday.

Stovall expects investors to have a muted response to the PCE data, especially after they’ve already reacted to the latest consumer price index and producer price index readings.

“It’s sort of like dropping a ping-pong ball on a table, the first bounce is the greatest. When the PCE finally comes out, it’s like, okay, been there, done that. I think investors are less concerned by what it’ll say,” he added. “There’s nothing that I can see on the horizon that would upend investors’ current expectations.”


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