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S&P 500, Nasdaq streak of records ends as US inflation ebbs

The tech-rich Nasdaq retreated, ending a streak of seven straight records (STEPHANIE KEITH)
The tech-rich Nasdaq retreated, ending a streak of seven straight records (STEPHANIE KEITH)

A multiday streak of US stock market records ended Thursday as investors shifted bets away from hot artificial intelligence equities toward overlooked names in anticipation of interest rate cuts.

The Nasdaq, which had closed at seven straight records, finished down two percent due to weakness in Nvidia, Apple and other tech equities that have led the market in 2024.

The S&P 500 also fell, after notching six straight records.

The drop in two of the three major US equity indices followed a positive day in Europe.

Despite the decline in the US indices' overall value, analysts noted that the majority of equities moved higher.

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"What's being bought is the laggards," said Art Hogan of B. Riley Wealth Management. "It's the start of a healthy rotation."

June consumer price index (CPI) inflation figures came in lower than anticipated, at three percent from a year ago, with a 0.1 percent month-on-month decline for the first time since 2020, Labor Department data showed.

The data prompted US President Joe Biden to hail "significant progress" and analysts to suggest rate cuts will soon follow.

Futures markets now see around an 85 percent chance of a rate cut at the Federal Reserve's September meeting.

The latest data "strengthens the case" for the US central bank "to begin cutting interest rates in September, particularly as the labor market has softened," said a note from Oxford Economics.

"The Fed is attentive to the risks of keeping interest rates too restrictive for too long. The better news on inflation over the past couple of months should strengthen its confidence that inflation is moving back toward its objective."

In Britain, official data showing the UK economy has grown faster than thought boosted the pound, with analysts saying it could force the Bank of England to delay cutting its interest rates until September.

An upbeat mood was also present in Asia, where Hong Kong stocks jumped two percent and Tokyo, Shanghai and Sydney all rose.

Eyes are also turning to the start of China's Third Plenum gathering on Monday, where top officials including President Xi Jinping are expected to discuss ways to kickstart the world's number two economy in the face of an ongoing property crisis and geopolitical issues.

Andrew Batson, of Beijing-based consultancy Gavekal Dragonomics, told AFP he did not expect a "fundamental departure from the course Xi has already laid out", in which technological self-sufficiency and national security outweigh economic growth.

Among individual companies, Tesla plunged 8.4 percent following a report that Elon Musk's electric auto giant will delay a much anticipated "robotaxi" event.

The unveiling was originally planned for August 8, but Tesla has pushed the event back until October to give teams more time, Bloomberg News reported, citing people familiar with the decision.

- Key figures around 2050 GMT -

New York - Dow: UP 0.1 percent at 39,753.75 (close)

S&P 500 - DOWN 0.9 percent at 5,584.54 (close)

Nasdaq Composite - DOWN 2.0 percent at 18,283.41 (close)

London - FTSE 100: UP 0.4 percent at 8,223.34 (close)

Paris - CAC 40: UP 0.7 percent at 7,627.13 (close)

Frankfurt - DAX: UP 0.7 percent at 18,534.56 (close)

EURO STOXX 50: UP 0.4 percent at 4,976.13 (close)

Tokyo - Nikkei 225: UP 0.9 percent at 42,224.02 (close)

Hong Kong - Hang Seng Index: UP 2.1 percent at 17,832.33 (close)

Shanghai - Composite: UP 1.1 percent at 2,970.39 (close)

Pound/dollar: UP at $1.2912 from $1.2849 on Wednesday

Euro/dollar: UP at $1.0870 from $1.0830

Dollar/yen: DOWN at 158.86 yen from 161.69 yen

Euro/pound: DOWN at 84.15 pence from 84.29 pence

Brent North Sea Crude: UP 0.4 percent at $85.40 per barrel

West Texas Intermediate: UP 0.6 percent at $82.62 per barrel

bur-jmb/nro