Stocks open flat as the S&P 500 eyes the 5,000 point level

US stocks opened near a flat line on Thursday, only to pause after hitting new highs, with investors cheering on the outlook for chipmaker Arm and looking for fresh momentum in the latest batch of corporate results.

The S&P 500 (^GSPC) fell nearly 0.1%, after the benchmark closed just a few points away from hitting 5,000 for the first time ever. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (^DJI) opened just above the flat line, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq (^IXIC) fell 0.1%.

Stocks rose as strong economic data and upbeat earnings lifted morale on Wall Street, helping the S&P 500 near a key psychological level. But some investors wonder whether the gains can be sustained, given the concentrated group of corporate giants driving it.

Arm (ARM) shares rose more than 25% in pre-market trading, raising hopes that artificial intelligence and technology will continue to support the market. The chipmaker gave a surprisingly bullish outlook based on its expansion into new regions. Disney (DIS) shares also rose nearly 8%, as investors welcomed its higher earnings and deals with Taylor Swift and Fortnite maker Epic Games.

Meanwhile, traders trimmed their bets on a rate cut in March thanks to a drumbeat of caution from central bank officials. Richmond Fed President Tom Barkin is scheduled to add his comments on Thursday, while the weekly jobless claims report due later may also move the needle on the policy outlook in light of December's blockbuster jobs report.

Read more: What the Fed's interest rate decision means for bank accounts, CDs, loans and credit cards

Elsewhere, concerns about deflation were renewed in China as data showed that consumer prices in the world's second-largest economy fell by the most since 2009 amid the global financial crisis.

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Also on the pessimistic side, a warning by Danish shipping giant Maersk (AMKBY) about a shipping slowdown has investors worried. Its shares fell 15% after the company said it would suspend stock buybacks.

He lives3 updates

  • NYCB stock is wavering amid lender's efforts to boost confidence

    New York Community Bank (NYCB) stock fluctuated Thursday morning as investors accessed the lender's latest efforts to boost confidence.

    As Yahoo Finance's David Hollerith noted, on Wednesday the bank shared a financial update, announced the hiring of a new CEO, Alessandro “Sandro” DiNello, and held a call with analysts aimed at boosting confidence.

    “We have seen virtually no inflow of deposits from our branches,” DiNello told analysts on Wednesday. The former bank examiner said that “building confidence” with Wall Street about New York Commercial Bank's deposits and liquidity will be the bank's top priority going forward.

    The stock fell as much as 7% at Thursday's open. Shares are down about 56% since late January when the lender cut its dividend and posted a surprise loss.

    Read more here.

  • Oil rises 2% due to tensions in the Middle East and lower US production expectations

    Crude oil futures opened higher on Thursday after the US killed an armed commander in Iraq and an Israeli. Hamas refused Ceasefire proposal.

    West Texas Intermediate (CL=F) rose about 2% from trading above $75 per barrel, while Brent crude futures (BZ=F) also rose by about the same amount to hover above $80 per barrel.

    “The geopolitical risks in the Red Sea come down to crude oil,” said Dennis Kessler, senior vice president at BOK Financial.

    Houthi rebels supporting the Palestinians are targeting attacks on ships, prompting major shipping companies To avoid The Red Sea region that connects to the Suez Canal, which is a vital corridor between Asia and Europe.

    Recent data from the Energy Information Administration (EIA) showed a decline in distillate and gasoline inventories. The sharp decline indicates higher demand, which helps maintain upward pressure on crude oil prices.

    The Energy Information Administration also lowered its forecast for domestic production for 2024, predicting that it will not reach record levels set in December 2023 until February 2025.

  • Stocks were little changed with the S&P nearing the 5,000 mark

    Stocks opened near the flat line on Thursday after hitting a new record high in the previous session.

    The S&P 500 (^GSPC) fell nearly 0.1%, after the benchmark closed just a few points below the 5,000 level for the first time ever.

    The Dow Jones Industrial Average (^DJI) opened slightly higher, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq (^IXIC) held the flat line.

    Disney (DIS) stock rose as much as 1% after the company reported smaller-than-expected losses at its entertainment division.

    The entertainment company also announced the launch of its new ESPN over-the-top (OTT) streaming service in fall 2025.

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