Interactive Investor

Market snapshot: US optimism continues

Our equity analyst Keith Bowman takes a look at early trading during the penultimate trading session of the year.

28th December 2023 11:22

by Keith Bowman from interactive investor

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UK markets gained in opening Thursday morning trading, buoyed by marginal gains for all three major US indices, although later drifted lower given holiday light volumes. 

Continued hopes for US interest rate cuts in 2024 leave US markets contemplating their ninth consecutive week of index gains. 

Year-to-date, the tech heavy Nasdaq Composite index is now up 44.3%. The broad S&P 500 has added 24.5% during 2023, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average is up 13.6%. 

The FTSE 100 index is up around 3.6% year-to-date. UK company news remains thin on the ground in the penultimate trading session of the year.

Early UK FTSE 100 gainers included international investment trust Scottish Mortgage Ord (LSE:SMT), up 1.4%, and Asian-focused Prudential (LSE:PRU) with an increase of just under 1%. Top-flight fallers included housebuilders Barratt Developments (LSE:BDEV) and Berkeley Group Holdings (The) (LSE:BKG), potentially on profit taking, with Barratt up more than 10% over the last month alone. 

Across the FTSE 250 index, steel-exposed RHI Magnesita NV Ordinary Shares (LSE:RHIM) climbed more than 5%, with China-focused fund Fidelity China Special Ord (LSE:FCSS) gaining around 2%. China and Hong Kong markets led a rally in Asian stocks overnight, with China stocks buoyed by a rebound in online gaming companies. 

Within the small-cap arena, JPMorgan China Growth & Income Ord (LSE:JCGI) rose over 5%, with shares for designer clothing retailer Superdry (LSE:SDRY) up by a similar amount. Shares for Superdry remain down by more than 70% during 2023, with its recent December trading update flagging a challenging consumer retail market and an abnormally mild autumn. 

Looking ahead, the latest weekly US jobs data is expected at 8.30am US time, followed by pending home sales for November at 10am. 

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