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Kevin Matras   
Profit from the Pros
By Kevin Matras
Executive Vice President
Zacks Investment Research

Stocks Closed Lower Yesterday, But S&P And Nasdaq Up For The Month

Stocks closed lower yesterday. But for the month, the S&P and Nasdaq both finished higher for the 3rd month in a row. And the Nasdaq led the way with an outsized 5.80% gain.

The tech-heavy Nasdaq, and to a lesser extent the S&P, can thank marquee tech names, especially those involved in the generative AI space.

On the economic report front, MBA Mortgage Applications were down -3.7% w/w, with purchases down by -2.5%, and refi's down by -6.9%.

The Chicago PMI declined to 40.4 vs. last month's 48.6 and views for 47.0.

The Beige Book report showed the economy grew once again. Economic outlooks softened as well, but still show expansion. Hiring slowed, but still increased. And inflation ticked up, but at a slower pace.

The State Street Investor Confidence Index rose 6.3 points to 89.8. North America rose by 9.6 points to 85.1. Asia was up 11.8 points at 101.1. Although, the European component was down for the second month in a row, falling -11.3 points to 99.8.

And the Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey report (or JOLTS for short), rose to 10.103 million, up from last month's upwardly revised 9.745M and the consensus for 9.350M. This shows the job market remains tight.

We will get another look at the labor market today with the Challenger Job-Cut Report, Weekly Jobless Claims, and the ADP Employment Report.

But the jobs report everybody is really waiting for is Friday's Employment Situation report. That's because the Fed has been looking at inflation, and the jobs market as two key inputs in deciding what to do about interest rates.

Interestingly, Fed Chair, Jerome Powell, even remarked with seeming incredulity after the June Fed meeting that rates have risen to 5% while the unemployment rate is still only 3.5%.

So you can be sure the jobs report is on the Fed's radar. And same for investors.

Today's economic reports wrap up with the Productivity and Costs report, the PMI Manufacturing report, the ISM Manufacturing Index, and Construction Spending.

YTD, after 5 months in, the Dow is down a tad by -0.72%. But the S&P is up 8.86%. And the Nasdaq is up 23.6%.

Tech has been the leader. But Consumer Cyclicals have been outperforming as well.

Another sector worth looking at is the Housing sector. That has been on the rebound with individual stocks and popular homebuilder ETFs up double-digits.

And with the busy spring home buying season starting to ramp up, the gains could grow even more. To learn more about how to take advantage of the opportunities in the housing market, be sure to read our latest commentary...

How to Profit From Today's Housing Market


Kevin Matras

Executive Vice President, Zacks Investment Research


Soaring EV Industry Keeps Investor Focus on Lithium


The need for lithium keeps going up, up, up with the mass adoption of electric vehicles. The lithium demand for EV batteries alone is now double the rate of lithium production.

That's why the U.S. government is pulling out all the stops to encourage domestic lithium production.

See Who Could Benefit From "Mined in America" Lithium

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