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The Dow Jones (DJI) did it last week. So did the Nasdaq 100 (NDX). Now it looks like it's the S&P 500's (SP500) turn to record a new all-time closing high. Following another session in the green on Tuesday, the benchmark index is only 30 points away from the upcoming milestone, meaning another move of 0.6% can bring it the vaulted trophy. S&P 500 futures (SPX) are inching down in the premarket, but one never knows what could happen during the regular session. The benchmark could also have to wait a little longer, or for a Santa rally to charge things up next week.

Snapshot: There's been a shift in expectations for monetary policy since late October, sending equities on a broad seven-week rally. The most recent boost came during last week's FOMC meeting, where Fed Chair Jay Powell formally lowered inflation forecasts for 2024 and telegraphed three rate cuts in the new year. "The question of when will it become appropriate to begin dialing back the amount of policy restraint in place... is clearly a discussion topic out in the world and also of discussion for us," he declared. "I would say there's a general expectation that this will be a topic for us looking ahead."

Notably, the biggest contributors to the S&P 500's (SP500) banner year have been the usual suspects, currently dubbed the Magnificent Seven. The group that includes Alphabet (GOOGL), Amazon (AMZN), Apple (AAPL), Meta (META), Microsoft (MSFT) Nvidia (NVDA) and Tesla (TSLA) is up a combined 75% in 2023, while the remaining 493 companies in the S&P 500 are about 12% higher, resulting in a 25% YTD gain for the index as a whole. The bull market has given big returns to many investors, and has just seen Wall Street's fear gauge - known as the VIX - slide to its lowest level since the start of the COVID pandemic.

What's in store for 2024? "The pivot from 'higher for longer' to rate cuts is bullish for the stock market as it could cancel the recession," notes SA analyst Damir Tokic, while Investing Group Leader Victor Dergunov says that stocks could even go much higher next year. Zoltan Ban takes a contrarian view, predicting that the S&P 500 will decline to 3,500 due to various factors such as higher oil prices and a slowing economy. "There is little doubt that FOMO has crept back into the market the same way we've seen in the past," Fear & Greed Trader cautions in Wall Street: Investing In 2 Different Worlds. (1 comment)

Out of charge

Bird Global (OTC:BRDS) has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, just two years after the electric scooter rental company went public via a SPAC merger. Apollo Global (APO) unit MidCap Financial and certain lenders will provide $25M in new debtor-in-possession financing, while Bird entered into a stalking horse deal with existing lenders, which is subject to better offers. The firm had been battling a slump in sales, and last month flagged substantial doubt about its ability to continue as a going concern. "Bird's go-public story has become a classic tale of how SPACs became the harbinger of wealth destruction against initially buoyant expectations of growth," SA analyst Pacifica Yield warned back in June. (3 comments)

Failing to deliver

FedEx (FDX) slid 9.8% after the bell on Tuesday after missing estimates on both lines in its Q2 earnings report and cutting its revenue guidance. Amid ongoing demand weakness, the company reported adjusted earnings of $3.99 per share and revenue of $22.2B, down 2.6% Y/Y. The decline in revenue was led by FedEx's largest unit Express, hurt by lower volumes and fuel surcharges. "With regard to Q3 expectations, we anticipate our typical seasonality, which implies a lighter quarter sequentially for earnings," CFO John Dietrich said on an earnings call. The disappointing outlook also weighed on FedEx's rivals, sending shares of UPS (UPS) 3% lower. (57 comments)

Daihatsu-gate

Toyota (TM) subsidiary Daihatsu, known for its "kei" smaller cars, has temporarily suspended all vehicle shipments in Japan and abroad after a probe found that its models were not tested properly for collision safety. "The investigation found new irregularities in 174 items within 25 test categories, in addition to the door lining irregularity in April and the side collision test irregularity in May," Toyota disclosed. The findings impact 64 Daihatsu models, as well as some Subaru and Mazda vehicles, and come after Daihatsu in April admitted it had rigged side-collision safety tests. Toyota said a fundamental reform was needed at Daihatsu, including a review of its management, operations and structure. (1 comment)

Today's Markets

In Asia, Japan +1.4%. Hong Kong +0.7%. China -1%. India -1.3%.
In Europe, at midday, London +0.6%. Paris +0.1%. Frankfurt flat.
Futures at 7:00, Dow -0.2%. S&P -0.2%. Nasdaq -0.3%. Crude +1.3% to $74.90. Gold -0.3% to $2,046.40. Bitcoin -0.2% to $42,866.
Ten-year Treasury Yield -4 bps to 3.89%.

Today's Economic Calendar

7:00 MBA Mortgage Applications
8:30 Current Account
10:00 Consumer Confidence
10:00 Existing Home Sales
10:30 EIA Petroleum Inventories
1:00 PM Results of $13B, 20-Year Bond Auction

Companies reporting earnings today »

What else is happening...

Biden has until Sunday to decide on Apple (AAPL) Watch patent dispute.

Consolidating control: Alibaba CEO Wu to head local e-commerce arm.

Nov. credit card metrics signal return to 'seasonality' vs. 'normalization.'

Colorado Supreme Court bans Trump from ballot in historic ruling.

McDonald's (MCD) partners with Accenture to bring AI into restaurants.

AB InBev (BUD) sells remaining stake in Russian JV to Turkish brewer.

Affirm expands pay-later service to Walmart (WMTself-checkout.

Macy's (M) continues to gain as buyout rumors underpin the stock.

Apple (AAPL) buying ESPN makes analyst Dan Ives’ 2024 wish list.

China keeps key lending rate unchanged amid efforts to revive economy.

Known to most as Uranium Pinto Beans, Jason has more than 15 years under his belt of trading stocks, options and currencies. His expertise primarily lies in chart analysis, and he has a strong eye for undervalued stock. Because he’s got the ability to identify great risk/reward trades he usually enjoys taking the path less traveled and reaping the benefits from the adventure.

He is a co-founder of Option Millionaires, and he is best known for his weekly webinars with Scott, as well as his high level training webinars and charts found in the forums.

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