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U.S. Stocks Wobble as Markets Eye Powell's Speech, Nasdaq Surges, and Retail Earnings Loom

U.S. stocks show mixed performance as investors anxiously await Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell's speech at the central bank's annual conference, with notable highlights across tech, retail, and oil sectors.

Jerome Powell
Jerome Powell

Market Performance: Tech Sector Leads Gains

U.S. stocks are wobbling, with gains led by the tech sector as investors await Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell's speech on Friday at the central bank's annual conference. At 11:12 ET (15:12 GMT), the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 113 points or 0.3%, while the S&P 500 was up 0.1% and the NASDAQ Composite was up 0.5%. The main equities indices closed in a mixed fashion Monday, with the blue-chip Dow Jones Industrial Average dropping slightly, while the broad-based S&P 500 gained 0.7%.

Nasdaq Highlights: Nvidia’s Hefty Gains

The highlight, however, came from the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite, which rose over 200 points, or 1.6%, its biggest gain of the month, even as the yield on the 10-year Treasury reached its highest level since November 2007. This jump was largely based on hefty gains by Nvidia (NASDAQ: NVDA), which closed over 8% higher, the biggest jump in nearly three months, as investors wanted exposure to the world’s most valuable chip designer ahead of quarterly results on Wednesday.

Retail Earnings Insight: Lowe's Tops Estimates

The retail sector will remain in focus Tuesday, with home improvement retailer Lowe's (NYSE: LOW) posting a smaller-than-expected drop in quarterly comparable sales and topping estimates for profit, helped by a boost from delayed spring season sales and sustained consumer spending on smaller projects. The consumer has remained resilient in the face of inflation, which has been cooling off compared with last year's pace. Retailers should be able to project consumer spending trends heading into their important holiday sales season.

SoftBank’s Arm Readies for Nasdaq, Microsoft Revises Activision Blizzard Merger

Elsewhere, SoftBank-owned (TYO:9984) Arm has released a preliminary prospectus for a Nasdaq listing, firing the starting gun on a long-awaited initial public offering that could be one of the biggest U.S. flotations in nearly two years. Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) has proposed a revised version of its merger with "Call of Duty" maker Activision Blizzard (NASDAQ: ATVI) in a bid to receive approval from U.K. competition authorities for the video-gaming industry's largest-ever tie-up.

Economic Updates: Slower Home Sales and the Fed’s Annual Symposium

The economic data slate is largely bare on Tuesday. Sales of existing homes for July were slower than expected at 4.07 million annually, a 16.6% drop from last year. Analysts expected an annualized number of 4.15 million, down slightly from the month before. The week’s main focus, however, is the Fed’s annual symposium at Jackson Hole, Wyo., starting at the end of the week. Friday’s speech by Powell will be the highlight as investors look for clarity on the economic outlook and the future path of interest rates.

Crude Oil Analysis: Market Weighs Chinese Economic Recovery and API Inventories

Oil prices were little changed Tuesday, as traders warily weighed the prospect of a faltering Chinese economic recovery, while also awaiting more signals on U.S. monetary policy at the Jackson Hole symposium at the end of the week. U.S. crude oil and gasoline inventories are also due later in the session from the American Petroleum Institute industry group, while the Energy Information Administration, the statistical arm of the U.S. Department of Energy, will release its data on Wednesday.