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Market Moves You Need to See
Kevin Matras   
Profit from the Pros
By Kevin Matras
Executive Vice President
Zacks Investment Research

Stocks End Lower, NVIDIA Earnings And FOMC Minutes On Deck Today

Stocks closed lower on Tuesday to begin this week's shortened trading week.

Yesterday's E-Commerce Retail Sales rose 0.8% q/q vs. last quarter's downwardly revised 1.8% (from 2.3%).

And the Leading Indicators report slipped -0.4% m/m vs. last month's -0.2% and views for -0.3%.

Before the open yesterday, Walmart reported a positive EPS surprise of 9.09%, and a positive sales surprise of 1.61%. They were up 3.23% in the regular session following earnings. Home Depot reported before the open as well and posted a positive EPS surprise of 1.81%, and a positive sales surprise of 0.68%. They were up a very modest 0.06% for the day. And Medtronic, before the bell, posted a positive EPS surprise of 3.17%, and a positive sales surprise of 1.72%. They were up 1.69% on the day.

After the close we heard from network security firm Palo Alto Networks. They posted a positive EPS surprise of 12.31%, and a positive sales surprise of 0.22%. But they guided full-year sales below the consensus with estimates ranging from $7.95-$8.00 billion vs. views for $8.17B. They were down by more than -20% in after-hours trade.

The earnings report everybody is really waiting for, however, is NVIDIA. They report after the close.

In addition to that, the market is also waiting on this afternoon's FOMC minutes from January's meeting. Investors will be looking for any additional insight as to what Fed members were thinking in regard to rate cuts, both in terms of size and timing. Whether we get any of that insight remains to be seen. But there will be plenty of interest in parsing every word. That comes out at 2:00 PM ET.

Even though inflation has eased considerably from 2022's peak, the rate of disinflation has slowed, and even ticked up a bit.

Nobody is seriously talking about inflation going back to where it was. But the apparent stickiness could cause the Fed the stay higher for longer, a bit longer than expected.

Nonetheless, the Fed's plan is still for 3 rates cuts in 2024 (presumably for 25 basis points each).

And that is bullish for stocks.

In the meantime, we've got a busy day of earnings today with as many as 206 companies on deck to report. And a busy day of economic reports which includes MBA Mortgage Applications, and the Atlanta Fed Business Inflation Expectations.

We'll also hear from Fed officials Raphael Bostic (President and CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta), and Michelle Bowman (Board of Governors member of the Federal Reserve).

Should be a busy day.

See you tomorrow,

Kevin Matras

Executive Vice President, Zacks Investment Research


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