Bull Run Continues: Stocks Up Amid Positive Data - PandaForecast.com
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Bull Run Continues: Stocks Up Amid Positive Data

December 23, 2023

On the cusp of the festive Christmas break, U.S. stocks wrapped up the week on an uplifting note. Wall Street’s impressive rally rolled on unabated, marking its eighth straight week of triumphs. A plethora of positive economic indicators, particularly when it came to inflation, fed the joy.

The Federal Reserve’s go-to gauge for tracking inflation, the core personal consumption expenditures price index for November, saw a modest month-over-month increase of 0.1% and a year-over-year rise of 3.2%. These numbers lend credence to the view that inflation is retreating, fueling hopes that the Fed might ease up on interest rates come 2024.

In a buoyant response, the Dow Jones Industrial Average nudged up by 0.22%, the S&P 500 climbed by 0.75%, and the Nasdaq Composite enjoyed a robust boost, jumping 1.21% for the week.

Steel Industry Shake-Up

The steel sector was abuzz on Monday when Japan’s Nippon Steel swooped in with a blockbuster $14.9 billion cash bid to snap up U.S. Steel. At $55.00 a share, the offer lays a 40% premium on the table, compared to U.S. Steel’s price tag on December 15. This bombshell set U.S. Steel’s stock soaring by 26% in Monday’s market melee.

The proposed union of the venerable 122-year-old American institution with its Japanese suitor, however, has kicked up a dust storm of concern among union leaders and lawmakers alike. The United Steelworkers union has urged a thorough review of the deal, while senators voice their doubts.

Fortifying the High Seas

Over twenty nations have joined the U.S. in a concerted effort to defend crucial international trade by putting a naval task force in place to protect merchant ships navigating the Red Sea’s choppy waters. This maritime coalition aims to provide protection for a wide range of commercial fleets as a result of destructive attacks by Houthi insurgents on ships, which put crews in danger and forced some shipping companies to avoid the Bab el-Mandeb Strait.

The initiative was felt immediately, as major shipping liners put a hold on their Red Sea journeys just last weekend. With oil titan BP heeding the caution and halting passage, the knock-on effects were quick to hit, bumping up freight charges and the price tag on war risk insurance.

Apple’s Patent Roadblock

Caught in a legal tangle over patents with Masimo, Apple has taken the drastic measure of halting U.S. sales of its coveted Watch series. The tech titan’s move is a reaction to an International Trade Commission verdict which took issue with the way Apple’s devices monitor blood oxygen—a feature at the heart of the dispute.

The next step lies with Trade Representative Katherine Tai, who’s tasked with rendering a decision. Despite the murky waters of legal entanglements, the sentiment among market watchers remains sunny for Apple.

The folks at Wedbush venture that Apple is on a trajectory to shatter records and become the first company to boast a $4 trillion market cap by the close of 2024, a milestone within reach after it touched the $3 trillion mark earlier, underscoring its reign as the world’s most valued corporation.

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