May 24, 2024

The Dow Jones Industrial Average and other major stock indexes were near session highs in midday action Friday as the latest jobs report showed better-than-expected job growth in March. Meta Platforms (META) was a top gainer in the Nasdaq 100, up more than 3% on the stock market today, but Tesla (TSLA) slumped 2% after Reuters reported the company is abandoning plans for a low-cost car.


The economy created 303,000 jobs in March, well above estimates from Econoday for 200,000. The unemployment rate ticked lower to 3.8%. February job growth was revised slightly lower to 270,000 from 275,000.

Traders in federal funds futures are still leaning toward the first Federal Reserve rate cut coming in June, although rate-cut expectations have been dialed back in light of a healthy jobs market. There’s also a concern that rates could remain higher if inflation takes longer than expected to get down to the Fed’s 2% target.

Meanwhile, a big merger made headlines when Dow Jones stock Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) announced plans to buy Shockwave Medical (SWAV) for $13.1 billion, or $335 a share. Shockwave soared nearly 16% last week when the Wall Street Journal reported J&J as a potential suitor.

Shockwave’s technology helps break apart calcified plaque in arteries. J&J shares edged lower. Shockwave rallied 1.8% to around 325.75.

Stock Market Today

The Nasdaq composite and S&P 500 led the way in Friday trades, up 1.5% and 1.3%, respectively. The Dow Jones industrials rallied 1% and the Russell 2000 small-cap index edged up 0.6% on the stock market today. Small caps lagged, with the 10-year Treasury yield up 6 basis points to 4.37%.

Despite the strong gains, breadth was only slightly positive on the Nasdaq and New York Stock Exchange. Volume was lower on both exchanges compared with the same time Thursday.

Top gainers among Dow Jones components included (AMZN), Caterpillar (CAT), Salesforce (CRM) and Microsoft (MSFT). Salesforce fell sharply Thursday in heavy volume. It’s now testing support at its 50-day line.

Besides Meta Platforms, other strong gainers in the Nasdaq 100 included Advanced Micro Devices (AMD). AMD is trying to recover after Thursday’s sharp break of the 50-day moving average in heavy volume.

WTI crude oil futures added 0.9% to around $87.35 a barrel.

Signs Of Institutional Selling

Major stock indexes remain in a distribution phase. Thursday was a classic example of distribution as the Nasdaq composite and S&P 500 reversed sharply lower in higher volume. Distribution indicates institutional selling, and increased signs of institutional selling are often seen ahead of stock market pullbacks.

See Which Stocks Are In The Leaderboard Model Portfolio

The Nasdaq composite shows eight higher-volume declines since March 3, with four of them showing drops of at least 1%. Meanwhile, distribution has been a little less pronounced in the S&P 500. The index shows six higher-volume declines since March 8, but only one decline exceeded 1%. The count also includes a stalling session.

Inside the MarketSurge Growth 250, several top-rated growth stocks scored substantial gains on the stock market today, including Leaderboard stock Uber (UBER). Shares rallied nearly 4% in light volume as the stock tests support at the 50-day line. ServiceNow (NOW) jumped more than 4%. It’s trying to clear a trendline as it forms a flat base with an 815.32 entry.

Leading growth stocks in the IBD 50 also outperformed. The Innovator IBD 50 ETF (FFTY) was up 2.3%, helped by strong gains for Celsius (CELH), Vertiv (VRT) and MakeMyTrip (MMYT). Celsius is making a solid first test of its 10-week moving average, putting the stock into an alternate buy zone.

Follow Ken Shreve on X @IBD_KShreve for more stock market analysis and insight.


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