US STOCKS-S&P, Nasdaq slip as caution prevails ahead of Powell…

Powell due to speak at 11:00 a.m. ET


Tesla slips as Cybertruck priced above initial forecast


Indexes: Dow up 0.09%, S&P down 0.20%, Nasdaq down 0.48%

(Updated at 9:37 a.m. ET/ 1437 GMT)

By Shristi Achar A and Amruta Khandekar

Dec 1 (Reuters) – The S&P 500 and Nasdaq fell on Friday as investors were on edge ahead of Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell’s comments that some fear may have a hawkish tilt towards monetary policy.

This comes after both the indexes finished November with their biggest monthly gain since July 2022, while the Dow Jones rallied to close at its highest level since January 2022.

The rally has been driven by a slew of recent data including Thursday’s personal consumption expenditure index that signalled easing inflation and bolstered hopes the central bank would now end its interest rate hikes and could start lowering them soon.

But after recent conflicting policy remarks from some policymakers, investors are concerned that Powell could push back against the rate cut narrative. Powell is expected to speak at two separate events at 11 a.m. ET and 2 p.m. ET.

“Especially because of the ebullience of the markets over the last couple of weeks, there probably is a hawkish message that he’s going to deliver today,” said Kim Forrest, chief investment officer at Bokeh Capital Partners.

Investors will also monitor comments from Fed Governors Lisa Cook and Chicago Fed President Austan Goolsbee, scheduled to speak during the day.

A pause in rate hikes has been fully priced in for the upcoming December policy meeting, and traders also see an about 48% chance of at least a 25 basis point rate cut in March 2024 and an about 78% chance of another cut in May, according to CME Group’s FedWatch tool.

At 9:37 a.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 31.40 points, or 0.09%, at 35,982.29, the S&P 500 was down 9.04 points, or 0.20%, at 4,558.76, and the Nasdaq Composite was down 68.61 points, or 0.48%, at 14,157.61.

Tesla underperformed megacap peers, falling 2.5% as the EV maker priced its Cybertruck above its initial forecast.

Also among top drags, Pfizer fell 6.5% as the drugmaker scrapped its plan to advance a twice-daily version of oral weight-loss drug danuglipron into late-stage studies.

Keeping the Dow Jones afloat was an about 1% rise in shares of aircraft firm Boeing and healthcare giant Johnson & Johnson.

Among other stocks, U.S.-listed shares of Alibaba slipped 3.0% after Morgan Stanley downgraded the e-commerce giant, citing slower turnaround in customer management revenue (CMR).

Marvell Technology shed 6.7% after the chipmaker’s fourth-quarter revenue forecast fell short of Street estimates.

Ulta Beauty rose 10.6% after the cosmetics retailer raised the lower end of its annual net sales forecast and named Paula Oyibo its new chief financial officer.

Paramount Global climbed 1% on a report the media company and Apple have discussed bundling their streaming services at a discount.

Declining issues outnumbered advancers for a 1.19-to-1 ratio on the NYSE and for a 1.55-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.

The S&P index recorded 19 new 52-week highs and one new low, while the Nasdaq recorded 19 new highs and 36 new lows.

(Reporting by Shristi Achar A and Amruta Khandekar in Bengaluru; Editing by Shinjini Ganguli)

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