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Stocks were falling as investors await direction from the Fed on rates

September 15, 2023 2:06 PM

Investing.com -- U.S. stocks were falling on Friday as investors turn their attention to the Federal Reserve's next interest rate decision.

At 12:40 ET (16:40 GMT), the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 170 points or 0.5% while the S&P 500 was down 0.8% and the NASDAQ Composite was down 1.1%.

The three major Wall Street indices posted strong gains on Thursday, helped by the positive reaction to the debut of chip designer Arm (NASDAQ: ARM) after its listing.

The blue-chip Dow Jones Industrial Average ended up over 330 points, or 1%, while the broad-based S&P 500 and the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite gained 0.8%.

The Dow is on its way to a winning week but weakness in tech stocks is weighing on the Nasdaq.

Arm’s success could prompt more listings

Arm Holdings stock soared almost 25% above its Nasdaq debut price on Thursday, boding well for other deals already in the pipeline, including the debut of delivery platform Instacart as early as this month. Shares gained another 2% on Friday. The success of Arm's listing could encourage other companies that have waited out volatile markets to take a dip in the IPO market.

About 150 companies are waiting to go public on the Nasdaq, a 40% increase from the same time last year, Reuters reported Friday, citing sources.

Fed's next meeting in view

Investors have been digesting mixed economic data as the Federal Reserve heads into its next meeting just days away. The retail sales report on Thursday showed a resilient consumer heading into the holiday shopping season. But inflation was slightly elevated, especially considering higher fuel prices in August.

Investors are turning their attention to next week's Fed policy-setting meeting, looking for clues to help clarify the policy path ahead for both Fed officials and markets alike. Futures traders are largely expecting the Fed to keep rates steady after raising them at 11 of is past 12 meetings, though investors will be listening carefully to what Chair Jerome Powell says at his press conference for clues on Fed policy making for the rest of the year.

The highlight of economic data on Friday was the preliminary September consumer sentiment reading from the University of Michigan. The reading was 67.7, lower than the 69.1 expected.

Sentiment was boosted earlier Friday after Chinese industrial production increased by more than expected in August, and there was also a pick-up in retail sales.

Auto stocks hold steady after union workers go on strike

Members of the United Auto Workers have gone on strike at three major assembly plants for the first time ever after failed talks between the union and the so-called "Big Three" major carmakers on a new labor contract.

The walkouts hit factories in Michigan, Ohio, and Missouri owned by General Motors (NYSE: GM), Ford Motor (NYSE: F) and Jeep-maker Stellantis (NYSE: STLA). But auto stocks were holding their own. Ford gained 0.5% and GM was up 1.2%.

Planet Fitness (NYSE: PLNT) shares slumped 12% after the unexpected departure of the gym and fitness center operator's CEO. The company said it has engaged an executive search firm to find a successor.

In terms of quarterly earnings, software maker Adobe (NASDAQ: ADBE) beat revenue estimates for the third quarter after the close Thursday, while homebuilder Lennar (NYSE: LEN) reported third-quarter profit above expectations.

Crude set for strong weekly gains

Oil prices rose Friday, climbing to their highest level since early November last year, on the back of more stimulus measures as well as the better-than-expected economic data from major importer China.

Both benchmarks were up around 4% from a week ago, on course for a third weekly gain.


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