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Dow sinks 600 points, Nvidia soars

Dow sinks 600 points, Nvidia soars

NVIDIA’s founder and CEO Jensen Huang delivers a keynote address on the latest innovations in AI, during a developers conference at the SAP Center in San Jose, California, on March 18, 2024. 

Josh Edelson | AFP | Getty Images

This report is from today’s CNBC Daily Open, our international markets newsletter. CNBC Daily Open brings investors up to speed on everything they need to know, no matter where they are. Like what you see? You can subscribe here.

What you need to know today

Dow sinks 600 points
Dow Jones Industrial Average suffered its worst day of the year, dropping over 600 points on Thursday. Boeing led the decline on the Dow. Despite reaching intraday record highs earlier, both the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq Composite ended the day in negative territory. Nvidia‘s blockbuster earnings and guidance failed to prop up markets, with more than 400 stocks on the S&P 500 trading lower. Treasury yields extended gains as the Fed delays rate cuts, while oil prices bounced back after a three-day decline.

Nvidia pops
Shares of Nvidia soared as much as 11% after the AI chipmaker’s earnings that beat Wall Street’s estimates. It also issued strong guidance as demand for its artificial intelligence accelerators remains robust. Shares passed $1,000 for the first time, reaching an all-time high of $1,063.20 during intraday trading, and are up about 111% this year.

Musk disapproves China EV tariffs
Tesla CEO Elon Musk said he’s not in favor of tariffs on Chinese electric vehicles, which were imposed last week by President Joe Biden. “Neither Tesla nor I asked for these tariffs,” Musk said in response to a question from CNBC’s Karen Tso. “Tesla competes quite well in the market in China with no tariffs and no preferential support. I’m in favor of no tariffs.”

Boeing sinks
Shares of Boeing dropped 7.6% after CFO Brian West said the company would continue to burn through cash this year.  Delivery of new planes, a major source of revenue, will not improve in the second quarter. Boeing is facing a host of production issues related to safety concerns. The company burned through nearly $4 billion in cash in the first quarter and West believes that figure could be similar or “possibly a little worse” in the second quarter.

U.S. sues Live Nation
The U.S. Department of Justice, joined by 30 states, has filed a lawsuit to break up Live Nation, the parent company of Ticketmaster, alleging monopolistic practices. Attorney General Merrick Garland stated Live Nation’s anticompetitive conduct harms fans, artists, and smaller promoters, resulting in higher fees and fewer opportunities. Live Nation disputes the “absurd” claims, blaming rising ticket prices on factors like production costs and online scalping. Live Nation’s shares fell 7.8%.

[PRO] What’s next for Nvidia?
Wall Street analysts are revising their price targets for Nvidia upwards after its blowout earnings and guidance. Some had feared a slowdown in demand as Amazon and Microsoft wait for Nvidia’s more powerful AI chips. Nvidia’s decision to split its stock could provide more upside for investors.

The bottom line

Nvidia’s blockbuster earnings and forecast couldn’t stop Wall Street from taking a late dive. Nvidia held up well, its stock closing above $1,000, up 9% on the day after reassuring investors its sales of graphics chips that power artificial intelligence weren’t a flash in the pan.

What comes next for Nvidia is a 10-for-1 stock split; Post-split shares will start trading on June 10. Stock split will help retail investors, put off by a share price of a thousand-plus dollars, to buy them at around $100. Nvidia shares are up more than 240% in the last 12 months. 

CNBC’s Ryan Ermey explains more on the psychology of the move and how the mechanism of the stock split works. 

So what’s freaking markets? According to the Charles Schwab Trader Sentiment Survey, the bullish outlook among traders fell to 46% from 53% in the second quarter.

“Traders began the year feeling pretty confident that the economy was improving and Fed rate cuts would be quick to follow,” said James Kostulias, head of Trading Services at Charles Schwab. “But inflation concerns have jumped significantly.”

Before the latest minutes from the Federal Reserve meeting, suggesting concern about stubborn inflation, some strategists had estimated the Fed could cut interest rates at least three times this year as prices cooled. Now, traders are lowering their expectations to just one cut, possibly in September or November.

As the first-quarter earnings season winds down, investors are shifting their attention to geopolitical concerns.

“The Fed has been pretty clear that they’re not going to cut rates, so you don’t have this, ‘Will they or won’t they’ [scenario] keeping everybody on edge. We are going to start to see a turn to some of this geopolitical stuff, whether it’s elections or the two ongoing wars,” said Melissa Brown, managing director of applied research at SimCorp.

While events such as the U.S. and UK elections don’t necessarily result in economic impacts, they do increase uncertainty, Brown noted.

“People may go from saying ‘I’m just going to buy now,’ to, ‘Look, I’m gonna wait and see the outcome of this before I decide to commit more money to market,'” Brown said.

— CNBC’s Hakyung Kim, Samantha Subin, Ryan Ermey, Jeff Cox, Sophie Kinderlin, Spencer Kimball, Ece Yildirim, Sarah Whitton and Ryan Browne contributed to this report.

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