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Stock market today: S&P 500, Nasdaq retreat from records, bitcoin marches closer to new highs

US stocks closed lower on Monday as investors girded for a week where Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell's testimony and the monthly jobs report could put equity gains to the test.

The S&P 500 (^GSPC) fell just below the flatline after ending Friday with its 16th weekly win in 18 weeks. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (^DJI) declined 0.2%. The Nasdaq Composite (^IXIC) fell 0.4% as a drop in both Apple (AAPL) and Tesla (TSLA) shares weighed on the tech heavy index.

Stocks have racked up gains amid a relentless AI-spurred run-up in techs, which helped the Nasdaq Composite (^IXIC) finally nail a fresh all-time high after a years long wait last week.

The tech rally, and Nvidia's (NVDA) breakneck rise to a $2 trillion valuation in particular, has prompted concerns about a building bubble — though some analysts are less worried. Shares of the chipmaker rose 6% to new all time highs during Monday's session.

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Also on Monday, bitcoin (BTC-USD) rose more than 7% to hover above $67,000 as the cryptocurrency inched closer towards a record high, while Japan's Nikkei 225 stock index (^N225) breached the key 40,000 level for the first time.

Gold futures (GC=F) gained as April contracts settled at a record $2126.3 per ounce.

A dose of reality could lie ahead for the high hopes and the hype, when the Fed's Powell steps up to speak and the February jobs data arrives. Both will play into calculations for interest rate cuts and shed light on whether the US economy is headed for a "soft landing" or stagflation. Powell is set to give testimony to Congress on Wednesday, while the labor data is due on Friday.

In a shot across the bows for Big Tech, EU antitrust regulators fined Apple about $2 billion over App Store restrictions on Spotify (SPOT) and other music streaming services. Apple shares slipped 2.5% after the news.

Among big movers, shares in Super Micro Computer (SMCI) popped as much as 25% to a new all-time high on Monday ahead of the AI server maker's entry on the S&P 500.

Macy's (M) stock jumped about 14% after bidders Arkhouse and Brigade raised their buyout offer to $6.6 billion, a 33% premium to the closing price on Friday.

Spirit Airlines (SAVE) shares fell more than 10% and JetBlue stock (JBLU) rose as much as 5% after the low-cost carriers announced the termination of their $3.8 billion merger agreement. A federal judge blocked the deal back in January.

LIVE COVERAGE IS OVER15 updates
  • S&P 500, Nasdaq dip, bitcoin approaches new highs

    The major averages retreated from last week's record closes while bitcoin inched closer to new highs on Monday.

    The S&P 500 (^GSPC) fell just below the flatline while the Dow Jones Industrial Average (^DJI) declined 0.3%. The Nasdaq Composite (^IXIC) fell 0.4%, weighed by a drop in shares of Apple (AAPL) and Tesla (TSLA).

    The EV maker's stock dropped to new multi-week lows as slowing China shipments and new price cuts hint at troubles for the EV stalwart in the world’s largest car market.

    Apple shares slid about 3% after the iPhone maker was hit with a $2 billion European Commission (EC) fine for allegedly breaking competition laws overseas. The tech giant is also bracing for a sweeping lawsuit from the Justice Department in the US.

    Nvidia (NVDA) stock touched new highs amid continued enthusiasm for semiconductors and artificial intelligence. Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) shares also rose more than 1%.

    Meanwhile Super Micro Computer (SMCI) stock popped 18% after surging more than 26% during trading ahead of the AI server maker's entry on the S&P 500.

    Investors were keeping a close eye on bitcoin (BTC-US) on Monday as the cryptocurrency rose as much as 7% to hover above $67,000 per token, inching closer to all-time highs.

  • Tesla stock falls amid shipment slump, new price cuts in China

    Tesla (TSLA) shares dropped to new multi-week lows as slowing China shipments and new price cuts there hint at troubles for the EV stalwart in the world’s largest car market.

    Tesla shipped 60,365 vehicles from its Giga Shanghai factory in February, according to preliminary data from China’s PCA (Passenger Car Association) via Bloomberg. The February shipments represent a 16% drop from a month ago, and about a 19% drop from a year ago.

    Tesla shares are down roughly 7% in late afternoon trading, hitting levels not seen since late January.

    Read more here from Yahoo Finance's Pras Subramanian.

  • Nvidia rallies to new highs, semis gain

    Nvidia stock (NVDA) hit new all-time highs on Monday amid continued enthusiasm for semiconductors and artificial intelligence. The chipmaker was presenting at a Morgan Stanley conference on Monday. Shares gained more than 6% to touch an intraday record of $876.95 each.

    Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) also rose more than 4% to touch record levels of $211.01.

    Meanwhile, Super Micro Computer (SMCI) popped as much as 26% to hit new highs ahead of the AI server maker's entry on the S&P 500. Super Micro Computer shares have surged more than 290% since the start of the year amid an ongoing craze over artificial intelligence.

    Gains in the semiconductor space helped maintain the Nasdaq Composite (^IXIC) around the flatline in afternoon trading.

  • Apple gets squeezed by antitrust regulators on both sides of the Atlantic

    Apple is getting squeezed by antitrust regulators on both sides of the Atlantic.

    Yahoo Finance's Alexis Keenan reports the iPhone maker was hit Monday with a $2 billion European Commission (EC) fine for allegedly breaking competition laws overseas — just as it was bracing for a sweeping lawsuit from the Justice Department in the US.

    Apple intends to fight the decision from the European Union’s antitrust regulator. It also has been trying to convince Justice Department officials not to file their suit, according to media reports.

    The company and its lawyers even met with Assistant Attorney General Jonathan Kanter in late February to make a last-ditch argument, according to those reports.

    Apple shares were down 3% on Monday.

    Read more here.

  • Gas prices: 'Stark increases' expected amid 'stunted' refineries, higher oil

    Gasoline prices have seen sharp increases amid recent refinery constraints and higher oil prices.

    The national average at the pump sat at $3.35 per gallon on Monday, up $0.09 from a week ago, but still $0.05 lower from exactly one year ago, according to AAA data.

    "US refining has been stunted by severe weather and some power losses at key plants. We may in the next few days see US retail gas prices at a higher number than year-ago," Tom Kloza, global head of energy analysis at OPIS, told Yahoo Finance.

    West Texas Intermediate (CL=F) futures were trading just below the $79 level on Monday while Brent (BZ=F) fell to trade below $83 per barrel.

    Crude dipped despite an agreement by oil alliance OPEC+ to extend output cuts of 2.2 million per day into the second quarter. Expectations that the cartel would continue with the reductions had lifted contract prices in prior sessions.

    On Friday US crude futures surged above $80 per barrel for the first time since November.

    Read more here.

  • Bitcoin approaches all-time highs

    Investors were keeping a close eye on Bitcoin (BTC-US) on Monday as the cryptocurrency rose as much as 7% in the past 24 hours, inching closer to all-time highs.

    Sizable amounts of new investor money has poured into spot bitcoin exchange-traded funds since they were approved by the Securities and Exchange Commission in January.

    The token was trading at just around $54,000 one week ago. It has rallied more than 20% since then to hover above $66,500 on Monday afternoon.

    Bitcoin's all-time record high of $68,789.63 was reached in November 2021.

    Other corners of the crypto market have also rallied. Ethereum (ETH-USD) was up more than 2% on Monday to trade above $3,500.

  • Ford stock rises as US sales jump 10.5% in February

    Ford (F) stock rose more than 3% on Monday after a rise in the automaker's February sales, making the Dearborn-based automaker the No. 1 seller in America for the second straight month.

    As Yahoo Finance's Pras Subramanian reports, Ford also noted hybrid and EV sales gains, highlighting the importance of its electrified powertrains.

    Ford reported February sales were up 10.5% to 174,192 vehicles, topping Toyota’s total of 159,262.

    Interestingly, hybrid sales jumped 31.5%, to slightly over 12,000 units, powered by record sales of the Maverick hybrid compact pickup and the Ford Escape small SUV hybrid.

    Read more here.

  • Trending tickers on Monday

    Tesla (TSLA)

    Shares of Tesla slid roughly 6% on Monday following a decline in the EV maker's February vehicle shipments out of its Shanghai factory along with recent reports of an escalating price war in China. Tesla shares are down 23% year to date.

    Super Micro Computer (SMCI)

    Super Micro Computer stock popped as much as 26% on Monday ahead of the AI server maker's entry on the S&P 500. Shares of San Jose, Calif.-based IT company have surged more than 290% since the start of the year amid an ongoing AI craze.

    Bitcoin (BTC-US)

    The token topped $67,000 on Monday as it inched closer to all-time highs. Bitcoin has rallied more than 20% in just one week.

    The cryptocurrency is less than a few percentage points away from reaching its November 2021 all-time high of $68,789.63.

  • Bitcoin hovers above $66,000, inches towards record high

    Bitcoin (BTC-USD) topped $66,000 on Monday as the cryptocurrency inches closer towards a record high. The token has rallied roughly 50% since the start of the year.

    US-listed bitcoin exchange-traded funds were approved by the Securities and Exchange Commission in January and have attracted sizable amounts of new investor money over the last month.

    The token has moved up by more than 20% in just one week.

    Bitcoin's last all-time record high of $68,789.63 was reached in November 2021.

  • Good point on stocks and economy by UBS

    Fair point by UBS's Jason Draho in a new note that just crossed my inbox.

    Maybe stocks are going up for reasons beyond just AI hype. Maybe, just maybe, the economy is stronger than expected and by extension, profits for companies will be stronger than expected for all of this year.

    Good chart below from Draho.

    The Street is raising their economic forecasts. Will they do it again after this Friday's jobs report?
    The Street is raising their economic forecasts. Will they do it again after this Friday's jobs report? (UBS)
  • Bank of America latest firm to see bullish outcome for stocks in 2024

    Another Wall Street strategy team is out with an optimistic projection on how far stocks will run this year.

    In a note to clients on Sunday, Bank of America's US equity and quantitive strategy team led by Savita Subramanian boosted its year-end target for the S&P 500 (^GSPC) to 5,400 from 5,000. This projection along with a recent call from UBS are the most bullish predictions for the benchmark average this year among strategists tracked by Yahoo Finance.

    "Bull markets end with euphoria — we're not there yet," Subramanian wrote. "Sentiment has improved, but areas of euphoria are limited (AI, GLP-1)."

    BofA's move is the fifth boosted price target from strategists tracked by Yahoo Finance in the last month. The more optimistic outlooks come as stocks have ripped higher to start the year. The S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite just closed out their best February since 2015, supported by a second straight quarter of earnings growth and an increased confidence in the trajectory of the US economy.

    Subramanian noted that fourth quarter earnings grew 4% compared to the year prior and analysts aren't cutting their forecasts for the current quarter at their normal rate. This comes as Bank of America's economics research team just boosted their outlook for growth this year too. That combination of an increased earnings outlook and a more bullish outlook for the US economy has been a common thread in the recent S&P 500 year-end target boosts across Wall Street.

  • Macy’s stock jumps as private equity firm ups bid to $6.6 billion amid buyout battle

    Macy’s (M) stock jumped as much as 16% on Monday after activist shareholder Arkhouse Management upped its buyout bid to $6.6 billion for the iconic retailer. Macy's had rejected a prior $5.8 billion offer from the private equity firm and its partner, Brigade Capital, in late January.

    As Yahoo Finance's Brooke DiPalma reports, Macy’s (M) is looking to turn over a new leaf, but a battle to take it private is growing and doubts linger on whether the company can engineer a comeback with its current plans.

    Tony Spring, freshly minted as CEO a month ago, acknowledges that the business needs to change.

    "We are not going to leave Macy's as it is today. It's foolhardy to think that leaving the business as it exists today is a recipe for success in the future," Spring told Yahoo Finance.

    Spring said the brand will "evolve," adjust its product offering, and integrate its physical and digital presence "thoughtfully," but will do so "with the appropriate action, ... time, and support of our organization.”

    Arkhouse Management's new bid released on Sunday shows the activist investor isn't waiting for the results.

    Read more here.

  • Stocks pause rally, bitcoin tops $65,000

    Stocks opened lower on Monday, pausing their recent rally as the market prepares for testimony from Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell this week and a monthly jobs report that could put equity gains to the test.

    The S&P 500 (^GSPC) shed about 0.2% while the Dow Jones Industrial Average (^DJI) fell 0.5%. The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composit (^IXIC) was little changed.

    Also on Monday, bitcoin (BTC-USD) rose to top $65,000, inching closer to a record high.

  • Spirit stock sinks on termination of JetBlue merger agreement

    Spirit Airlines (SAVE) stock plunged as much as 16% in pre-market trading on Monday after its $3.8 billion merger agreement with JetBlue (JBLU), blocked by a court in January, was terminated by the low-cost carriers.

    "After discussing our options with our advisors and JetBlue, we concluded that current regulatory obstacles will not permit us to close this transaction in a timely fashion under the merger agreement," Spirit's CEO Ted Christie said in a company statement.

    JetBlue’s proposed acquisition of Spirit fell apart after a federal judge blocked the deal on Jan. 16 amid antitrust concerns.

    Shares of JetBlue gained more than 5% in pre-market trading after the announcement. Spirit shares are down roughly 60% year to date.

  • The head-shaking stats around Nvidia

    Some of the hottest trending tickers on Yahoo Finance this morning are crypto-related. No surprise as bitcoin has busted through $65,000 and excitement builds for a potential halving event in April.

    But to me, the main story in markets remains the frenzied trade around AI sweetheart Nvidia (NVDA). As this stock goes, so too will go the market in 2024 (and 2025, 2026, 2027…).

    A few stats on Nvidia to get you thinking:

    • Nvidia is now third most valuable US company: $2.05 trillion market cap.

    • It only took 180 trading days for Nvidia's market cap to go from $1 trillion to $2 trillion.

    • The stock is rated "uy" by 92% of the analysts covering it.