Stocks retreat after February jobs report

Stocks lost momentum and turned lower during afternoon trading on Friday as investors retreated somewhat after a powerful rally led by big tech names. The February jobs report showed a rise in the unemployment rate, bolstering investor confidence that the Federal Reserve will cut rates following its June meeting.

The S&P 500 (^GSPC) is near flatline after posting another record high on Thursday, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average (^DJI) rose as much as 0.3%. The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite ( ^IXIC ) lost 0.3% after sharp gains the previous day.

Friday's nonfarm payrolls report showed the U.S. economy added 275,000 jobs in February, again beating Wall Street expectations. However, the unemployment rate remained at 3.9%, its first increase in four months. Futures on the three major averages traded in the red ahead of the jobs data.

The market got a boost this week after Chairman Jerome Powell told lawmakers that the Federal Reserve is “not far off” from believing inflation is in the right place for the central bank to start cutting borrowing costs.

In a sign of how the wind is blowing elsewhere, European Central Bank policymakers are lining up to support a rate cut ahead of the summer break as inflation falls faster than expected. Meanwhile, Bank of Japan officials are said to be warming to the idea of ​​finally raising rates from negative territory.

On the corporate front, shares of Costco ( COST ) fell 7% as earnings hit after its quarterly sales miss. Broadcom's ( AVGO ) revenue of $10 billion in sales of AI-enabled chips failed to impress investors, sending shares down more than 6%.

Among commodities, gold futures (GC=F) continued to rally as spot gold posted its biggest weekly rise in five months.

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  • Stocks trending in afternoon trade

    Here are some of the leading stocks on Yahoo Finance's Trending Tickers page during Friday afternoon trading:

    Bitcoin (BTC-USD): The world's biggest cryptocurrency hit an all-time high on Friday, surpassing $70,000 for the first time, but quickly climbed back to around $68,000 as some investors locked in their profits. The digital currency's recent explosion has pushed prices to levels not seen since late 2021.

    Nvidia (NVDA): Shares at the center of Wall Street's AI excitement retreated nearly 5% in afternoon trading as the company's dazzling rise took a breather. Investor frenzy around the stock has intensified in recent months as tech companies that rely on Nvidia's technology double down on investment in the fast-growing sector.

    Costco (cost): Shares of the warehouse retailer fell more than 7% on Friday after the company reported mixed second-quarter results.

    Rivian (RIVN): The all-electric car company rose 2% during afternoon trading after the company's release Two new low-cost SUVs. The first of the two, a midsize SUV called the R2, will start around $45,000, and Rivian plans to ship it in the first half of 2026. The move is designed to appeal to a wider consumer base similar to Tesla's Model 3.

  • Shares were wobbly in afternoon trade

    Investors held their breath after the powerful rally, sending stocks mostly lower during afternoon trading on Friday, causing a pause in the tech-led rally.

    The S&P 500 (^GSPC) is near flatline after posting another record high on Thursday, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average (^DJI) rose as much as 0.3%. The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite ( ^IXIC ) lost 0.3% after sharp gains the previous day.

  • RealPage expects 'muted' rental growth in 2024

    Apartment supply pressures Renters across the country can breathe easy this year as the arrival of rental growth.

    Asking rents for professionally managed apartments rose just 0.2% in February from a year earlier. Data from RealPage. This is lower than the historical average of 0.6% up to 2010.

    “The muted rental growth is expected to continue throughout 2024 as supply continues to put downward pressure on rents,” RealPage said in a statement.

    Austin was the biggest laggard in rent growth, with a 6.7% year-over-year decline in February. Meanwhile, rents in Virginia Beach rose 3.3%.

    While strategists expect a slowdown in rents, an inflation gauge, the consumer price index, shows rents are sticking. Analysts attribute this to lag in data. February CBI will be released on Tuesday.

    Overall, according to RealPage, apartment occupancy was steady at 94.1% in February, marking the third consecutive month at this rate.

    RealPage reports that record-high construction activity in the apartment sector is challenging occupancy levels this year, with nearly 962,000 units under construction nationally by the end of 2023 and 672,000 units expected to be completed this year.

  • Bitcoin briefly hits $70,000

    Bitcoin (BTC-USD) hit an all-time high on Friday, surpassing $70,000 for the first time, but quickly climbed lower as some investors locked in their profits.

    The latest explosion in the world's largest cryptocurrency has sent prices soaring to levels not seen since late 2021. Earlier this week, investors pushed the price up to nearly $69,000, matching the previous high set during the peak of the pandemic. But bitcoin fell back below the $60,000 level within hours, highlighting the market's volatility.

    A recent trading frenzy for bitcoin followed the 2022 crash, which generated huge losses for investors and triggered the fall of several major industry players, including cryptocurrency exchange FTX and its founder Sam Bankman-Fried, Yahoo Finance's David Hollerith reports.

  • Stocks trending in morning trade

    Here are some of the leading stocks on Yahoo Finance's Trending Tickers page during Friday morning trading:

    Rivian (RIVN): The all-electric car company rose 6% in morning trading after the company's release Two new low-cost SUVs. The first of the two, a midsize SUV called the R2, will start around $45,000, and Rivian plans to ship it in the first half of 2026. The move is designed to appeal to a wider consumer base similar to Tesla's Model 3.

    Costco (cost): Shares of the warehouse retailer fell sharply on Friday after the company reported mixed second-quarter results.

    interval (GPS): The apparel company gained 3% on Friday after reporting fourth-quarter earnings that beat expectations on both the top and bottom lines. The latest quarterly results come less than six months into CEO Richard Dixon's tenure, whose mandate has turned the company around.

    Broadcom (AVGO): Shares of the semiconductor maker fell 3% after reporting first-quarter results that topped analyst estimates, both to the upside and downside. However, the report wasn't quite the shock many investors were hoping for, sending the stock slightly lower.

  • Stocks head into a winning week after the jobs report

    Wall Street sounded the trading day on a positive note as stocks rose after the February jobs report showed a rise in the unemployment rate. A slightly weaker job market bolsters the case for the Federal Reserve to cut interest rates this summer, boosting investor confidence.

    The S&P 500 (^GSPC) rose 0.2%, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average (^DJI) was flat. The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite ( ^IXIC ) gained 0.3%.

  • Costco is Costco

    Costco (COST) Costco has historically worked well for investors.

    The company sells giant $1.50 hot dogs in its food court (and they're pretty tasty, as you can see in my 2022 photo below with retired CEO Craig Jelinek). In the latest quarter, an 18% increase in online sales was fueled by demand for gold bars. A few weeks ago I surprisingly found (and bought) two tomahawk steaks from my local Costco for $40 (about five pounds of meat).

    Costco does things differently, and it's built into its DNA. Shares have risen over the past five years as members happily shop: +245%.

    So I wasn't surprised to hear Costco's longtime CFO Richard Galanti (soon to retire) reveal his entry into the sushi business on last night's earnings call:

    “We recently opened our first fully operational sushi offering in Issaquah, Washington, across the street from our headquarters, and have two more planned to open in the near future. We've been doing this successfully for years. Our sushi program in Asia Costcos and in many countries there is a category that can win both quality and price. It's proven, and we look forward to seeing it in the future.”

    Sign me up for the California roll, rich man.

    Costco hot dogs are on point.  At right, now-retired Costco CEO Craig Jelinek.Costco hot dogs are on point.  At right, now-retired Costco CEO Craig Jelinek.

    Costco hot dogs are on point. At right, now-retired Costco CEO Craig Jelinek. (Yahoo Fund)

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