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Stock Market News for Nov 21, 2023

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Wall Street closed sharply higher on Monday, driven by tech stocks. Investors are keeping a keen watch on the release of Fed minutes from the last policy meeting to gauge the central bank’s future strategy. All of the three major stock indexes ended firmly in the green.

How Did the Benchmarks Perform?

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) rose 0.6%, or 203.76 points, to close at 35,151.04. Twenty-one components of the 30-stock index ended in positive territory, while nine ended in negative.

The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite added 1.1%, or 159.05 points, to close at 14,284.53.

The S&P 500 gained 33.36 points, or 0.7%, to close at 4,547.38. Nine out of the 11 broad sectors of the benchmark index closed in the green. The Technology Select Sector SPDR (XLK), the Communication Services Select Sector SPDR (XLC) and the Real Estate Select Sector SPDR (XLRE) advanced 1.5%, 1.1% and 0.8%, respectively, while the Utilities Select Sector SPDR (XLU) declined 0.3%.

The fear-gauge CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) decreased 2.8% to 13.41. A total of 10.1 billion shares were traded on Monday, lower than the last 20-session average of 11 billion. Advancers outnumbered decliners on the NYSE by a 2.17-to-1 ratio. On the Nasdaq, advancing issues led decliners by 1.66-to-1.

Microsoft Surges on Sam Altman Appointment

Much of the boom seen in the tech sector on the day was led by Microsoft Corporation (MSFT - Free Report) , which rose 2.1%, driving the day’s gains. The company touched a 52-week high.

The reason behind the jump was the “coup” hiring of Sam Altman, the recently ousted CEO of OpenAI. Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said that Altman was set to join Microsoft to lead a new advanced AI research team. Microsoft is also hiring Greg Brockman, another OpenAI cofounder, as well as other researchers.

The computer behemoth’s sudden upping of its AI game led to cheers from market participants, and technology became the biggest gaining sector of the day.

Consequently, shares of Intel Corporation (INTC - Free Report) and Cisco Systems, Inc. (CSCO - Free Report) rose 2.1% and 1.1%, respectively. Intel sports a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). You can see the complete list of today's Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.

Investors Eagerly Await Fed Minutes

Much of the drive and pull of Wall Street in recent weeks has been because of market participants seemingly ignoring the hawkish comments coming in from Fed officials about future rate hikes. Investors have bet on indications coming in from economic data that inflation will be sufficiently low and the risk of getting into a recession plausibly high to deter the Fed from announcing further rate hikes.

However, they will keep an eye out for the minutes from the Fed’s Oct 31 to Nov 1 policy meeting. Market participants are hoping to gain some insight into the central bank’s rate decision and try to gauge what might lead them to change course going forward. Currently, there is a general consensus that the Federal Open Market Committee will hold steady on rates at its upcoming December meeting. Although there is no hope of any rate cut yet, this adds to investor morale.

No economic data was released on Monday.

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