Stock market today: Stocks slip to start final week of eventful first quarter

A furious rally on Wall Street to start 2024 took a breather at the beginning of the final week of the year’s first quarter.

Futures on the S&P 500 (^GSPC) fell 0.4% before the opening bell. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (^DJI) looked to fall a more modest 0.2%, while futures tied to the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite (^IXIC) plopped 0.6% after the index set another record at Friday’s close.

The S&P and Nasdaq have opened 2024 on a heater, as both indexes are up near 10% to start the year. But traders are largely in wait-and-see mode to start a short final week of March, with financial markets closed for Good Friday.

The highlight of the week on the economic data front will come on Friday with the release of the Personal Consumption Expenditures (PCE) price index, which contains the Federal Reserve’s preferred “core” PCE inflation measure.

Read more: What the Fed rate decision means for your money

The Fed helped fuel the market’s bull run last week, as the central bank reaffirmed expectations that it will cut rates three times this year while also issuing more bullish forecasts on the economy.

In corporate news, shares of Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) and Intel (INTC) both fell over 3% in premarket trading after a Financial Times report said China would phase out the use of their chips and servers in government computers.

Boeing (BA) shares popped 3% in pre-market after the plane manufacturer announced its CEO Dave Calhoun will step down at the end of the year.

The industrial giant has dealt with a string of production and quality control issues since one of its 737 MAX 9 planes flown by Alaska Air lost a panel in mid-flight back in early January.

Live3 updates

  • One investment bank throws a dart at Foot Locker

    Foot Locker (FL) has had a brutal 12-months.

    Weak sales. Weak margins. Rough outlooks. The reasons for all of this are varied, from changing sneaker preferences (think more demand for chunky dad shoes as opposed to athletic sneakers) to Nike (NKE) execution issues to Foot Locker’s own operational challenges.

    All in, the stock is down 36% in the past year — and it’s deserved (just take a look at the company’s latest earnings presentation for support).

    Despite this, EvercoreISI’s Michael Binetti is tossing a dart at the stock rebounding. He upgraded his rating to out-perform this morning, citing:

    • A new loyalty program launch by mid-year.

    • A new digital app in North America by mid-year.

    • An aggressive store refresh plan — two-thirds of Foot Locker stores to be updated by 2025.

    • A significant acceleration in innovation/newness across all athletic brands.

    • Nike pivoting back to growth ahead of the Olympics.

    Appreciate the analysis, but FL remains a show me story.

  • Behind the scenes on Chipotle

    I still remember meeting Brian Niccol in 2016.

    At the time, he was the CEO of Yum! Brands (YUM) owned Taco Bell. I was in my early 30s still trying to figure out a reporter role and also looking for ways to save money (in part because I wasn’t making much in said role!) — that included eating dinner at Taco Bell.

    I met Brian in a hotel conference room after he presented at an investor day. Despite being a young guy with a ton of success on his resume, I found Brian to be humble and insanely knowledgeable about the fast-food industry. I came away thinking Brian would be a game-changer as CEO of a stand-alone business.

    Eight years later, Brian is still the same guy I met despite even more success on his resume as CEO of Chipotle (CMG). Here is my new exclusive chat with Brian now on Yahoo Finance. We touched on a lot in our 25 minute phone chat, but my main takeaway is that Chipotle shareholders remain in a good place because someone like Brian is at the helm backed up by the equally impressive CFO in Jack Hartung.

    A couple takeaways from the interview:

    • Big focus by Chipotle on pushing it to the limit on new restaurant openings over the next three years.

    • New tech will arrive to more Chipotle locations with an eye toward improving profit margins.

    • Brian Niccol isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.

  • Where investors see the bubbles

    As we enter the final week of trading in a relatively hot March for various asset classes, investors remain on bubble watch.

    A new survey from Deutsche Bank that dropped this morning still shows investors perhaps worried about how fast bitcoin and tech stocks have come on.

    Makes sense as tech stocks such as Nvidia (NVDA) has surged 19% this month on AI hype and bitcoin is up by 9%!

    Bitcoin and tech stocks are looking over-inflated, suggests a new survey from Deutsche Bank.

    Bitcoin and tech stocks are looking over-inflated, suggests a new survey from Deutsche Bank. (Deutsche Bank)