Stocks Quietly Higher as Central Bank Wraps Up Meeting

Clues for futures interest rate plans should be revealed in Powell's press conference

Deputy Editor
Mar 20, 2024 at 12:10 PM
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Stocks are cautiously higher ahead of the conclusion of the central banks policy meeting. Investors largely anticipate interest rates to remain unchanged this time around, but will gain more clues for future plans at Fed Chair Jerome Powel's press conference later today. Ahead of the event, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) sports a modest double-digit lead, while the Nasdaq Composite (IXIC) and S&P 500 Index (SPX) are just above breakeven.

Continue reading for more on today's market, including:

  • Fast casual restaurant announces first-ever stock split.
  • Semiconductor giant lands $8.5 billion in government funding.
  • Plus, three stocks making outsized post-earnings moves.

Midday Market Stats March 202024

Options traders are targeting Signet Jewelers Ltd (NYSE:SIG) at a higher-than-usual rate after the world's largest diamond jewelry retailer reported fourth-quarter results. While adjusted earnings beat expectations, the company's fiscal first-quarter and yearly revenue forecast were lower than expected, which is pushing the stock lower today, last seen down 11.4% at $90.83. Head for its worst day since September 2022, today's bear gap sent SIG to a new low for 2024 and it's now down nearly 35% over the last 12 months. In the options pits, 4,716 puts and 3,096 calls have crossed the tape, or total volume that's 13 times the average intraday amount. New positions are opening at the most popular contract, the April 85 put.

Shares of Lifeway Foods Inc (NASDAQ:LWAY) are near the top of the Nasdaq, after the company announced record-breaking results for the fourth quarter. The stock was last seen 17% higher at $12.74, bouncing back above recent resistance at its 40-day moving average, as it attempts to overcome a 5.6% year-to-date deficit.

Elsewhere, U.S.-listed shares of German BioNTech SE (NASDAQ:BNTX) is one of the worst stocks on the Nasdaq, last seen down 7.9% at $86.64. The stock earlier fell as low as $85.21 after the company reported an earnings miss, a 65% plunge in sales, and a weak forecast. Now trading at its lowest level since early 2021, BNTX sports a 35.3% year-over-year deficit. 

BNTX Chart March 202024


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