Here comes the resurgence of the Santa Claus market.
Stocks rose on Wednesday as investors cheered good results from two of America’s leading companies and a surprisingly strong reading on consumer confidence.
The Dow finished up more than 525 points, or 1.6%, after FedEx (FDX) and Nike (NKE) reported earnings that beat analyst expectations. FedEx (FDX) rose 3% and Nike (NKE) rose about 13%. The S&P 500 and Nasdaq were also up 1.5%.
Walgreens (WBA) was one of only two losers on the Dow, dropping more than 2%. Concerns about a shortage of common pain relief medications for children could be an issue for investors. Rival Walgreen’s CVS (CVS) fell about 1.5%. Weak guidance from Rite Aid (RAD) didn’t help the competition: Rite Aid (RAD) shares fell more than 17%.
Stocks are still down for the month of December despite Wednesday’s rally. With the exception of the Christmas miracle, all of the major indices will end deeply in the red for the year. However, the market could at least end 2022 on a positive note after strong stock gains in both October and November.
Wall Street was also cheering with a better-than-expected report on consumer confidence from the Conference Board on Wednesday. Consumer confidence for December rose from last month’s level and easily exceeded economists’ expectations. Consumers seem to be becoming less concerned about inflation.
The jump in sentiment on Main Street came even as there were more signs of a continued slowdown in the housing market. Existing home sales fell 7.7% in November, which was a larger-than-expected decline. It’s the tenth straight month of declining sales.
In other corporate news, Tesla (TSLA) stock was flat after CEO Elon Musk said he was looking for someone to replace him as Twitter boss after Twitter users voted for him stepping down as CEO of the social media company he said he bought for $44 billion.
Tesla shares are down 60% this year, in part because of shareholder concerns that Musk is distracted by the never-ending drama at Twitter. There are also concerns that Musk’s often polarizing tweets could alienate potential buyers of Tesla’s expensive electric cars.
Shares of Carnival Cruises (CCL) rose nearly 5% after the company reported a loss that was narrower than analysts had expected.
But BlackBerry (BB), the former mobile device leader that has since turned into a cybersecurity firm, fell 10% to a new 52-week low after poor expectations.
There is more upheaval in the cryptocurrency world as well. Bitcoin prices fell slightly on Wednesday as investors await the extradition of Sam Bankman-Fried, founder of the bankrupt FTX exchange, from the Bahamas to the United States.
The cryptocurrency massacre continues to claim more victims as well. Core Scientific, a bitcoin miner, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on Wednesday. Core Scientific shares fell more than 75% to about 5 cents a share.
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