As the curtains rise on 2024, Wall Street deals with a turbulent start, straying from its triumphant rally in the previous year. The S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite, previous bearers of market optimism, surrendered to a cautious retraction, with the former shedding 0.9% and the latter marking its most pronounced decline since October. This adjustment mirrors a nuanced interplay of investor reactions to escalating bond yields and a strategic recalibration following a robust 2023. Amidst this backdrop, Apple’s downgrade by Barclays casts a shadow over the tech sector, sparking a broader contemplation on the sustainability of the recent market surge. Meanwhile, the Dow Jones Industrial Average illustrates a less dramatic shift, underscoring the complex mosaic of market sentiment as a new financial chapter unfolds.

Key Takeaways:

  • S&P 500’s Decline Sets the Tone: The S&P 500 index retreated by 0.9%, marking a cautious start to 2024, signalling a shift in investor sentiment after a strong finish in 2023.
  • Nasdaq Records Notable Dip: The Nasdaq Composite experienced a significant downturn, falling by 2%, which marks its worst performance since October, driven by tech sector volatility.
  • Dow Jones Shows Relative Resilience: The Dow Jones Industrial Average witnessed a more modest decline, shedding 82 points, or 0.2%, buoyed by the strength of defensive stocks like Johnson & Johnson and Merck.
  • Apple Leads the Tech Pullback: Apple shares led the tech retreat, declining notably after Barclays downgraded the stock to an underweight rating, citing concerns over iPhone sales.
  • European Markets Reflect Cautious Optimism: European stocks closed slightly lower, erasing earlier gains which had pushed the Stoxx 600 index to its highest level since January 2022.
  • Asian Markets Show Mixed Responses: In Asia-Pacific, markets displayed a mixed performance with Chinese stocks dipping, while Australian markets neared an all-time high.
  • Treasury Yields Influence Market Mood: The 10-year Treasury yield saw an increase of 8 basis points, approaching the 4% mark, influencing investor decisions and tech stock valuations.
  • Manufacturing PMI Indicates Economic Pressure: The Manufacturing PMI fell to 47.9 in December from 49.4 in November, underscoring ongoing challenges in the manufacturing sector.
  • Cryptocurrency Makes a Leap: Bitcoin surged above $45,000 for the first time since April 2022, reflecting a significant uptrend in digital currency markets.
  • Tesla Hits Delivery Target: Tesla reported a total of 1.8 million deliveries for 2023, aligning with its forecast and indicating robust growth in the electric vehicle sector.
  • Sector-Specific Movements Offer Insight: Chip stocks faced pressure amid higher bond yields, and cruise line operators saw notable declines, while Moderna’s stock surged following an analyst upgrade.

FX Today:

  • U.S. Dollar Climbs: The U.S. Dollar, as measured by the DXY index, experienced a notable uptick, increasing by 0.74% and reaching a 1-week high. This rise was supported by an increase in 10-year Treasury yields, which jumped to 3.933%, a 2-week high.
  • EUR/USD Pair’s Movements: The EUR/USD pair, after initially rallying to multi-month highs, pivoted lower towards 1.0935. This adjustment came in the wake of the Eurozone December S&P manufacturing PMI being revised upwards to 44.4 from 44.2, still signalling contraction.
  • GBP/USD Navigates Choppy Waters: The GBP/USD pair dipped below 1.2620, pushing towards a critical support around the 1.2600 level. This movement is ahead of significant UK economic reports that could further influence the pair’s trajectory.
  • USD/JPY Shows Varied Response: The USD/JPY pair demonstrated resilience, rallying off support but stopping short of reclaiming its 200-day simple moving average. The pair’s dynamics are closely tied to Japan’s economic outlook and the U.S. interest rate environment.
  • Canadian Dollar Reacts to Economic Data: The Canadian Dollar weakened with the Canadian Manufacturing PMI falling to a 43-month low of 45.4 in December. This decline, combined with broader market sentiments, impacted the CAD’s strength.

Market Movers: 

  • Apple’s Downgrade Sends Ripples: Apple Inc. (AAPL) faced a significant retreat, dropping over 3% following Barclays’ downgrade to underweight. This move, triggered by concerns over iPhone sales, had a notable impact on the market’s sentiment.
  • Tech Sector Under Pressure: Major tech stocks felt the heat, with Microsoft (MSFT) and Nvidia (NVDA) both falling into the red. Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) led the decline in the Nasdaq 100, dropping more than 4%, while Intel (INTC) mirrored this downturn with a loss of over 4% in the Dow Jones Industrials.
  • Cruise Lines Navigate Troubled Waters: Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings (NCLH) experienced a significant downturn, leading the S&P 500 losers with a drop of more than 6%. Carnival (CCL) and Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd (RCL) also faced headwinds, each declining more than 4%.
  • Moderna Leads with Optimism: On the brighter side, Moderna (MRNA) surged ahead, leading gainers in both the S&P 500 and Nasdaq 100 with an increase of more than 11%, lifted by an upgrade to outperform from Oppenheimer.
  • Casino Stocks Bet on Recovery: Casino operators with exposure to Macau, such as Las Vegas Sands (LVS) and Wynn Resorts (WYNN), saw an uplift, each climbing more than 4%, in response to Macau’s December casino revenue surge.
  • Financial Stocks Reflect Mixed Sentiments: Citigroup (C.N) advanced after Wells Fargo raised its price target, while other financial entities like Goldman Sachs and Bank of America faced varying degrees of market response.


As the sun sets on the first trading day of 2024, Wall Street closes its chapter on a day marked by reflection and realignment. The retreat of the S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite underscores a period of recalibration, where investor optimism is tempered in the face of unfolding economic narratives. Key tech players, once the frontline of market resilience, now navigate the complexities of shifting demand and policy headwinds. Amidst these changing tides, sectors such as healthcare and specific blue-chip stocks like Moderna and casino operators demonstrate an undercurrent of enduring strength. This day weaves a story of a market that remains vigilant, responsive, and ever-evolving, illustrating an investment landscape that is as dynamic as it is uncertain. As Wall Street charts its course through the unknown waters of 2024, it stands as a testament to the intricate dance of economic forces, market sentiment, and the persistent quest for equilibrium in a world of financial ups and downs.