Market Review: March 25, 2024

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Closing Recap

Monday, March 25, 2024





DJ Industrials




S&P 500








Russell 2000













U.S. stocks sputtered late day after trading between modest gains and losses throughout, a tight range amid no major stock news events over the weekend, no major economic data outside of one housing data point, and no major earnings for another few weeks as stocks simply held strong gains recorded last week. The S&P remains on track for a 5th straight month of gains as markets await GDP and PCE inflation data later this week. The S&P 500 index is up roughly 27% from its October 2023 lows, rising in a straight line for the most part, getting another boost last week from the Fed which kept its outlook for three rate cuts in 2024. Also last week, the Swiss National Bank last week cut rates, the first major central bank to do so in a sign monetary policy would loosen as global growth slows, the BoE signaled a dovish tilt, and the European Central Bank is expected to cut in June. Market breadth slightly favored decliners over advancers, with 8 of 11 S&P sectors in the “red” as energy (XLE) rose behind another pop in oil prices, and utilities finished higher.


Wall Street stays bullish: Oppenheimer “raised their year-end target price for the S&P 500 to $5,500 (from $5,200) and raise its earnings projection to $250 from $240 for the S&P 500 in 2024. OPCO’s upwardly adjusted price target and earnings projection assume a slightly higher P/E multiple of 22x up from 21.7x with its earlier target. Last week’s economic data included an uptick in the Conference Board’s Leading Indicator—the first positive reading in this composite of ten leading data points after 23 consecutive declines”. Note, we are closing the month and quarter as year-to-date, the S&P 500 is up around 10%, the Nasdaq +9.5%, the Dow Jones Industrials +4.75% and even the Russell 2000 is up over 2% YTD. @RyanDetrick noted “the S&P 500 has been higher in Jan, Feb, and March 20 times since 1950. This year will be number 21. The rest of the year (final 9 months) was higher 19 times and the avg return was much better as well.


Fed speakers’ little impact on today’s trading: Federal Reserve Gov. Lisa Cook said Monday the central bank needs to take a “careful approach” in deciding when to cut interest rates, but she gave few clues on the timing or size of any reductions. Atlanta Federal Reserve Bank President Raphael Bostic said late on Friday, he now expects just one 25 basis-point rate cut this year instead of the two he had projected, citing persistent inflation, and stronger-than-anticipated economic data. Meanwhile Fed’s Goolsbee said that three cuts in 2024 was “in line” with his thinking. In lone piece of U.S. economic data: New Home Sales for February fell sales -0.3% to 662K unit annual rate vs January +1.7% (prev +1.5%) and vs. estimate 675K. U.S. Feb home sales Northeast -31.5%, Midwest -2.4%, South +3.7%, and West +2.3%; median sale price $400,500, -7.6% from Feb 2023 ($433,300).

Commodities, Currencies & Treasuries

  • U.S. WTI crude oil futures settle at $81.95 per barrel, rising $1.32 or 1.64% while Brent Crude futures settle at $86.75/bbl, up $1.32, 1.55% as orders from the Russian government to curb oil output, and attacks on energy infrastructure in both Russia and Ukraine offset the United Nation’s demand for a ceasefire in Gaza. Russian refinery runs decreased by 0.3mb/d since the first string of drone attacks on Russian refineries in January. Gold prices rose $16.40 to settle at$2,176.40 an ounce, despite a bounce in Treasury yields and the dollar both risk assets (Bitcoin) and defensive assets (precious metals) saw strength.
  • The US Treasury sold $66B in 2-year notes at a yield of 4.59%, in-line with 4.590% when issued prior, with the bid-to-cover (demand) at 2.62 (vs. prior auction 2.49) as primary dealers take 13.36% of U.S. 2-year notes sale, direct 20.88% and indirect 65.76% (strong). Next up, $67 billion five-year note auction on Tuesday followed by $43 billion of seven-year notes on Wednesday. The bond market will close early at 2 p.m. on Thursday for the Easter holiday (markets are closed on Friday). The U.S. dollar edged higher after rising last week, gaining most against the Japanese yen after the central bank changed policy. Bitcoin rose over 11% topping $70,800 after falling last week.





WTI Crude















10-Year Note




Sector News Breakdown

Retail, Consumer Staples & Restaurants:

  • In Retail: FL upgraded from In Line to Outperform and raise tgt to $32 from $28 citing three key updates: 1) its meetings with the FL Management team last week; 2) its own channel checks from across the US and Europe athletic specialty channel, and 3) Comments from the brands (especially Nike) that suggest there will be the most significant investment behind the specialty athletic retail channel.
  • In Restaurants: MCD was downgraded to Hold from Buy at Argus saying the company’s sales have been hurt recently as more customers choose meals at home over dining out as food price inflation is moderating and the cost of dining out is rising. PLAY was downgraded to Market Perform from Outperform at Raymond James ahead of Q4 earnings as sees a more balanced risk/reward following the stock’s strong recent gains and as industry comps remain sluggish entering an important phase for the story. Also notes third party data suggests comps remain negative through mid-March, noting soft recent industry trends.
  • In Sporting Goods Retail: VSTO shares rose after MNC Capital boosted its bid for the sporting goods retailer to $3B, or $37.50 per share offer is an improvement from last month’s bid of $35.00 per share MNC Capital said it expects Vista to promptly engage and agree to the proposal, which is advocated is clearly in the best interest of company.

Leisure, Gaming & Lodging:

  • In Autos: NSANY said it would launch 30 new models over the next three years and aim to raise its global sales by 1M vehicles while cutting costs to improve profitability; said it would target an operating profit margin of over 6% by end of the financial year to March 2027 and total shareholder returns of more than 30%.
  • In Electric Vehicles: TSLA, RIVN, NIO were all downgraded to Neutral from Buy at Mizuho saying while they remain constructive on the broader EV landscape with the LT trend to electrification, near-term EV demand and tightening liquidity are creating challenges into 2025E. Mizuho downgrades the stocks citing near-term demand weakness for EVs and tightening liquidity. LCID shares jump after announces Investment of $1B by an Affiliate of PIF in a newly created series of convertible preferred stock via private placement. The sovereign wealth fund of Saudi Arabia (PIF) owns 1.37B shares of LCID.
  • In Lodging & Leisure: TH shares jumped after received an unsolicited non-binding proposal from Arrow Holdings, an affiliate of TDR Capital LLP to acquire all the outstanding shares of common stock that are not owned by any of Arrow, for cash consideration of $10.80 per share.

Energy, Industrials and Materials

  • In Aerospace & Defense: BA shares rallied after CEO Dave Calhoun said he would step down from his position at the end of 2024 while Stan Deal, Boeing Commercial Airplanes President, and CEO, would also retire, chief operating officer Stephanie Pope would lead the business, effective immediately.
  • In Industrials: IR entered into an agreement to acquire ILC Dover from New Mountain Capital, an investment firm with approximately $50B in assets under management. The deal includes an upfront cash purchase price of approximately $2.33B and an earnout tied to the achievement of select operating efficiency metrics in 2024.
  • In Transports: UAL shares dropped after the FAA move to increase its oversight of the carrier after a series of recent safety incidents. Last week, the FAA said it would initiate a formal evaluation to ensure the Chicago-based airline was complying with safety regulations.
  • In Metals & Mining: CENX said it is starting negotiations for up to $500M in funding from the U.S. government that will go toward building the first new U.S. primary aluminum smelter in 45 years. CMP hits 52-week lows after saying the U.S. Forest Service will not hand over a contract of magnesium chloride-based aerial fire retardants to CMP for the 2024 fire season as they raised concerns about it. CLF said it will receive up to $575 million in U.S. funding for decarbonization investments at two of the steel producer’s sites including its Middletown Works Facility in Middletown, Ohio and at its facility in Butler, Pa.
  • In Chemicals: SMG downgraded from Strong Buy to Market Perform at Raymond James and removing its prior $70 target price noting the stock is now up a healthy 15% YTD — and up a very robust 37% in just the past seven weeks after closing at $53.53 on 2/5, exceeding the company price target. EMN reached 52-week highs after being selected by U.S. Department of Energy to receive up to $375M investment.
  • In Utilities: Morgan Stanley out with a note saying they project a rapid decline in the cost of GenAI compute, analyze global GenAI power demand, and assess the implications of slow growth in power grid infrastructure. They expect power infrastructure will not keep pace with the rapid growth in GenAI compute demand and highlight 13 OW-rated stocks AES, BE, CEG, NEE, PEG, VST in the U.S. as well as ENGIE.PA, FORTUM.HE, IBE.MC, ORSTED.CO, RWE.DE, SCIL.SI, and TENA.KL.
  • In MLPs/Pipelines: KMI was downgraded to Hold from Buy at Truist and cut tgt to $20 from $22 saying the company’s natural gas operations historically caused its stock to trade at a premium to peers, but competition has done a good job at closing the gap resulting in a lesser premium.

Banks, Brokers, Asset Managers:

  • In Crypto: MSTR hits new all-time highs, taking out prior high of $1,815 on 3/15, as Bitcoin bounces over11% back above $70,500 and selling pressure last week; COIN +9% above $278 (highest levels since Dec ’21); shares of RIOT, MARA, CLSK, HUT and others saw increased volatility again.
  • In Insurance: CINF was upgraded to Outperform from Market Perform at BMO Capital and raise price target to $135 from $125 and increased estimates approximately 4% through 2025 saying Cincinnati continues to add excess reserves while actual cash-paid loss ratios are improving.

Biotech & Pharma:

  • AXSM announces AXS-12 achieves primary endpoint in the symphony phase 3 trial in narcolepsy; AXS-12 statistically significantly improved overall function and quality of life compared to placebo; said there were no serious adverse events in trial.
  • BNTX said the U.S. National Institutes of Health has sent a notice to the German company regarding default in the payment of royalties and other amounts related to its COVID-19 vaccine. BioNTech’s royalty payment dispute relates to its COVID-19 vaccine for which it partnered with U.S. pharma giant PFE.
  • DYN said CEO Joshua Brumm was leaving the company to pursue a career in health care investing. He will be replaced by John Cox as Dyne’s new CEO and board member. Cox was formerly CEO of Bioverativ.
  • ESPR said the FDA has approved broad new label expansions for NEXLETOL(R) Tablets and NEXLIZET(R) Tablets based on positive CLEAR Outcomes data that include indications for cardiovascular risk reduction and expanded LDL-C lowering in both primary and secondary prevention patients.
  • LABP to be acquired by ABBV for $20.42 per share in cash in a deal valued at $137.5M, further strengthening its portfolio in inflammatory and autoimmune diseases.
  • NKTX announced pricing of an underwritten offering of 21M shares of stock at a price of $10.00 per share.
  • NVO to acquire heart-disease focused Cardior Pharmaceuticals in a deal worth $1.1 billion as the weight-loss drug company continues to expand its treatments for cardiovascular disease.
  • REGN announced that its BLA for 2L odronextamab in R/R follicular lymphoma and in DLBCL received a Complete Response Letter for each indication, with the CRLs pointing to the currently enrolling OLYMPIA program and requirement for the company/agency to align on these confirmatory and other portions of the trials to progress.
  • UTHR announced a $1 billion accelerated share repurchase program.

Healthcare Services & MedTech movers:

  • Cannabis stocks pared gains after big run last week (CGC, CRON, TLRY); the group got a bounce last week following Canada tax recommendation and after Germany’s upper house passed a law partially legalizing cannabis use last week; GRWG shares outperformed after authorized first share repurchase program to repurchase up to $6M of Co’s outstanding common stock.
  • DXCM outperformed in insulin/diabetes sector noting that Wells Fargo was positive on shares late Friday – noted in ABT/DXCM case, the 1st patent litigation verdict was more favorable to DXCM than expected and said consultant still sees a settlement as likely.
  • GDRX was upgraded from Equal Weight to Overweight at Wells Fargo and raised its tgt to $10 saying they believe 2024 guidance has good visibility with upside potential to both estimates & valuation multiples. Wells also thinks EBITDA margins May trend ahead of consensus in 2025.
  • LH was upgraded to Buy from Hold at Argus with $250 tgt saying they see stronger top-line growth in 2024 and margin expansion, driven by demand for Base Business testing and for Central lab services to support biopharma clinical trials.
  • MASI shares rose after active investor Politan Capital Management said it had nominated two director candidates to the board, in addition to the two seats it had won last year, marking the possible start of a second proxy battle.
  • SHC was upgraded to Buy from Hold at Jefferies citing strong MedTech volumes pulling through to Steri/Nelson (2/3 of rev), life science macro recovery, and moderating interest rates.


  • Internet movers: AAPL, GOOGL, and META will be investigated for potential breaches of the Digital Markets Act, EU antitrust regulators said, potentially leading to hefty fines for the companies. The law, effective from March 7, requires six gatekeepers – which provide services like search engines, social networks and chat apps used by other businesses – to comply with guidance to ensure a level playing field for their rivals and to give users more choices.
  • In Semiconductors: NVDA shares slipped early after Reuters reported that a coalition of tech companies (QCOM, GOOGL, INTC) plan to battle the chipmaker’s AI dominance – but later rebounded and posted its 6th straight day of gains; AMD and INTC shares declined after the Financial Times reports that China has introduced new guidelines that will mean U.S. microprocessors from both chip makers are phased out of government PCs and servers, as Beijing ramps up a campaign to replace foreign technology with homegrown solution ; AEHR shares drop after reported preliminary third-quarter results that are weaker than expected.
  • In Telecom & Media: Barclays upgraded DIS to Overweight from Equal Weight and raised price tgt to $135 from $95 saying the recent narrative reset is likely to be followed by positive estimate revisions, which is still early in the cycle and should further support the stock’s valuation. ERIC said to cut 1,200 Jobs in Sweden saying the cuts are in-line with managing lower volumes. MTCH adds two directors in deal with activist investor Elliott Management. DWAC announced the completion of business combination with Trump Media & Technology Group as common stock and warrants of TMTG to begin trading on Nasdaq on March 26 with tickers DJT and DJTWW.
  • In Software: BIGC downgraded to Underperform from Neutral at Bank America and cut tgt to $7.50 from $11 saying they see relative underperformance to eCom software peers and says the revenue growth outlook uninspiring, R-of-40 outlook lags peers, and job postings suggest demand inflecting lower. ZM launches Zoom workplace in AWS Marketplace; unveils AI-powered collaboration platform, Zoom Workplace. TTWO shares dropped in video game sector as Kotaku reported GTA 6 production reportedly falling behind, Rockstar urges staff to return to office to avoid delay.
  • In social media (META, SNAP, TikTok), Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis on Monday signed a bill blocking most kids from social media websites; the bill forbids kids 13 and younger from creating social media accounts and requires the platforms to seek out and remove their profiles. Kids 14 and 15 would need parents’ consent.


Market commentary provided by Hammerstone Markets, Inc, a firm separate from and not affiliated with Regal Securities. Regal Securities has not participated in the creation of the content, and does not explicitly or implicitly endorse the content.

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