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Stock Market today: Dow ends lower as Nvidia slip dents tech, but Walmart shines

Published 02/20/2024, 09:24 AM
Updated 02/21/2024, 05:08 AM
© Reuters

Investing.com -- The Dow fell Tuesday, as investors turned cautious on Nvidia ahead of its quarterly results, and the minutes from the Federal Reserve's January meeting due later this week.

By 16:00 ET (21:00 GMT), the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 63 points, or 0.2%, the S&P 500 index fell 0.6%, lower and the NASDAQ Composite dropped 0.9%.

Nvidia slip drags on tech

NVIDIA Corporation (NASDAQ:NVDA) fell more than 4% pressuring the broader tech sector lower as investors turned cautious ahead of the chipmaker's quarterly results due Wednesday.  

Ahead of Nvidia's results, some on Wall Street are expecting the company to not only beat quarterly estimates, but also deliver better than expected guidance amid AI-led chip demand.  

"The only question around NVDA's near-term performance and outlook, in our view, is to what magnitude results and guidance will exceed our (and consensus estimates)," Wedbush said in a note.   

Intel Corporation (NASDAQ:INTC), however, sidestepped the move lower in chip stocks to rise more than 2% after Bloomberg reported late last week that the Biden administration is in talks to award more than $10 billion in subsidies to the semiconductor firm.

Fed minutes to guide rate-cut thinking

The Fed is set to release the minutes of its January meeting on Wednesday that could provide more insight into the central bank’s thinking, with markets currently pricing in four quarter point rate cuts this year, starting in June.

"For now, market pricing is consistent with our call for 100bps of cuts, starting in June," Morgan Stanley said in a note.

Following consumer and producer prices last week prompted concerns that the Federal Reserve will keep interest rates at more than two-decade highs for longer than had been expected at the start of the year.

A slew of Fed speakers this week, including Atlanta Fed President Raphael Bostic, governors Lisa Cook and Christopher Waller, along with Vice Chair Philip Jefferson could also provide further potential clues on monetary policy.  

Walmart shines after Q4 beat, annual dividend hike; Home Depot stumbles

Supermarket giant Walmart (NYSE:WMT), a major Dow component, rose more than 3%, after the low-cost retailer's fourth-quarter U.S. sales and earnings beat estimates, prompting the retail behemoth to raise its annual dividend by 9%. Walmart also confirmed it would buy smart TV market Vizio for $2.3 billion to bolster its advertising business. 

Elsewhere in the retail sector, Home Depot (NYSE:HD) cut losses to close just above the flat line after the home improvement retailer posted a dip in fourth quarter comparable sales from a year ago, as cash-strapped shoppers reined in expenditures on major property improvements, opting instead to focus on smaller and cheaper projects.

"We continue to expect HD sales trends to improve through 2024 and see potential for upside to guidance," Wedbush said in a Tuesday note.

Capital One to acquire Discover Financial in $35B deal 

Capital One said it would acquire Discover Financial Services (NYSE:DFS) in a $35.3 billion deal, creating the largest U.S. credit card company by loan volume, sending shares of the latter more than 14% higher. 

The deal, which is expected to close in later this year or early 2025, may face regulatory headwinds, RBC said. "Given the transaction creates an over $600 billion asset banking organization, as well as consolidates the credit card market, we see the regulatory hurdles as high," it added.

(Peter Nurse, Amber Warrick contributed to this article.)

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