S&P 500 Index Hits Record Close to End Q1 | ORBITAL AFFAIRS

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The S&P 500 Gains and Losses: A Recap of March 28, 2024

Key Takeaways

  • The S&P 500 added 0.1% on Thursday, March 28, 2024, posting an all-time closing high on the final trading day in the first quarter of 2024.
  • Shares of Estee Lauder soared after Bank of America upgraded the stock, forecasting meaningful growth for the beauty products maker.
  • Carnival Corp. shares fell as the cruise operator said it could see up to $10 million in losses related to the bridge collapse in Baltimore earlier this week.

Major U.S. equities indexes were mixed and little changed on the final trading day of the first quarter, as markets will be closed tomorrow in observance of Good Friday. Revised data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis released Thursday morning showed that the U.S. gross domestic product (GDP) grew at an annual rate of 3.4% in the fourth quarter, up from previous estimates of 3.2%. An upward revision to consumer spending estimates underpinned the higher growth figures. Resilient consumer spending has played a key role in helping the economy avoid a recession as the Federal Reserve hiked interest rates to fight inflation.

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S&P 500 Performance

The S&P 500 advanced 0.1%, ending the quarter at an all-time closing high. Including the uptick on Thursday, the S&P 500 was up around 10% for the first three months of the year, marking its strongest first-quarter performance since 2019. The Dow also added 0.1% on the day, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq slipped 0.1%.

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Stock Highlights

Shares of cosmetics company Estee Lauder (EL) led the S&P 500 higher, soaring 6.3% after Bank of America Securities upgraded the stock to “buy” and increased its price target to $170 from $160. Analysts anticipate meaningful growth for the beauty products maker, highlighting its cost-saving initiatives and adaptations to slower sales in China.

Shares of AES Corp. (AES) jumped 3.9% following reports that the electric utility and power generation company had signed a supply agreement to order large-scale electrolyzer plants from U.S.-based manufacturer Electric Hydrogen. The plants will allow AES to produce low-cost hydrogen using renewable energy.

Walgreens Boots Alliance (WBA) shares jumped 3.2% as the pharmacy giant posted better-than-expected sales results for its fiscal second quarter. Although the company lowered full-year profit guidance, citing a challenging retail environment, Walgreens remains confident in reaching its goal of saving $1 billion during the year through its cost-cutting program.

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Carnival Corp. (CCL) shares posted the day’s steepest losses among S&P 500 stocks, dropping 4.9% after the cruise operator said it anticipates up to $10 million in losses related to the collapse of Baltimore’s Francis Scott Key Bridge early Tuesday morning. The company reported a narrower-than-expected adjusted quarterly loss when it released results on Wednesday but noted the impact of the bridge collapse was not yet factored into forward guidance.

Moderna (MRNA) shares fell 3.6% on Thursday, reversing gains posted in the prior session amid reports the vaccine maker had secured $750 million from Blackstone Life Sciences for its flu program.

Shares of intelligent power and sensing chipmaker ON Semiconductor (ON) fell 2.7%. Semiconductor stocks came under pressure as analysts at UBS highlighted several warning signals for the industry, including a vulnerable outlook for global pricing momentum.

Conclusion

The S&P 500 closed at an all-time high on March 28, 2024, wrapping up a strong first quarter for U.S. equities. While some companies saw significant gains, others faced challenges that impacted their stock performance. As investors look ahead to the next quarter, it will be interesting to see how these trends continue to unfold in the ever-changing landscape of the stock market.

For more financial news and updates, visit Investopedia.

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