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Stock Market Today: Dow Racks Up Gains Ahead of Earnings Wave

By Yasin Ebrahim -- The Dow started the week on the front foot Monday as stocks added to strong gains from last week ahead of a wave of quarterly results from big tech.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 1.3% or 417 points, the Nasdaq was up 0.9%, the S&P 500 rose 1.2%.

Defensive corners of the market including consumer staples and health care led the gains in the broader market, with the latter boosted by a 7% jump in HCA (NYSE:HCA). Sentiment on health care stocks has improved as investors weigh up sectors that could be less vulnerable to the risk of slowing economic growth and higher interest rates.

“Our overweight recommendations (Health Care, Consumer Staples, Telecom, Energy) are generally defensive and reflect the significant risks to earnings and valuation in an environment of elevated inflation and interest rates,” Goldman Sachs said in a note.

The outlook on the economy deteriorated further following weaker-than-expected manufacturing and services activity.

The weaker data forced Treasury yields to ease slightly from session highs and boosted tech stocks amid hopes that the Federal Reserve may consider a less hawkish path of monetary policy after its widely expected 75 basis point rate hike next month.

Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) rose more than 1% after raising the prices on its TV and Music streaming services. Alphabet Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL) and Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) are set to kick off quarterly earnings for big tech on Tuesday, with Meta Platforms Inc (NASDAQ:META), Apple and Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) set to report later in the week.

Chinese tech stocks, however, suffered a rout as Alibaba (NYSE:BABA) and Inc (NASDAQ:JD) slumped after Chinese President Xi Jinping’s leadership reshuffle raised fears about increased regulatory scrutiny on tech stocks.

Consumer discretionary stocks were one of the few sectors in the red, weighed down by a slump in China-sensitive casino stocks following fresh Covid-19 restrictions in Guangzhou. Melco Resorts & Entertainment (NASDAQ:MLCO), Las Vegas Sands Corp (NYSE:LVS), and Wynn Resorts Limited (NASDAQ:WYNN) fell sharply.

Energy continued to hold gains, shrugging off stuttering oil prices following a more than 3% rise in oil field services company Schlumberger (NYSE:SLB).

Goldman Sachs lifted its price target on SLB to $55 from $46 following the company’s “better guidance for 4Q22 and increased conviction in 2023/24 revenue growth driven by international activity.”


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