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It’s the last trading day of 2023 – a time to reflect on the year gone by and ponder what is to come in the new year. Let’s delve into some of the financial highlights from 2023 and projections for 2024.
Market Wrap-Up: A Recap of 2023
In the U.S. on Thursday, all three major indexes ended mostly muted, near all-time highs, amid expectations that the Federal Reserve will cut interest rates next year.
On the economic calendar, initial jobless claims for the week ended Dec. 23 increased by 12K to 218K, exceeding the expected 210K level.
Pending Home Sales stalled in November, with the index staying at 71.6, compared with the 0.8% growth that was expected.
Stock futures edged higher in the early trading hours of Friday, signaling a positive conclusion to 2023, as investors look ahead to the final trading day of the year, with Wall Street set to book strong annual gains: Dow +0.12%; S&P 500 +0.18%; Nasdaq +0.16%.
In the bond market, the U.S. 10-year Treasury yield was up 1 basis point to 3.86%.
Leo Nelissen, a Seeking Alpha analyst, stated, “I do not expect [Friday] to be different, as the Nasdaq 100 is about to close its best year since 1999. Investors aren’t going to take major risks or change major positions. The books are closed.”
Japan (NKY:IND) -0.22%. Japan’s 10-year government bond yield rose above 0.6% and was headed for its fourth straight annual gain amid growing speculation that the Bank of Japan could end its negative interest rate policy next year.
China (SHCOMP) +0.61%. The mainland stocks rose for the third straight session as expectations of further policy easing and attractive valuations in China prompted aggressive buying from investors.
2023 Stock Movers
Gold Fields (GFI) shares rebounded by 4% after experiencing a 10.7% decline on Thursday, which was attributed to the miner revising its 2024 production forecast for the Salares Norte project in Chile. The anticipated commencement of the first gold production was delayed by four months to April due to recent challenges in the pre-commissioning process, including necessary rework on critical safety aspects. Gold Fields adjusted the FY 2024 production volume estimate for Salares Norte to 220K–250K gold equivalent ounces, down from the initial guidance of 400K–430K ounces, citing difficulties with the cyanide circuit and other reagent circuits, as well as personnel availability issues with the primary contractor.
Mullen Automotive (MULN) maintains its positive momentum, with a 5% rise in premarket hours on Friday, adding to the 28% gain from Thursday’s trading, following the delivery of 50 Mullen ONE electric cargo vans to Randy Marion Automotive Group for $1.68M. In the next five business days, Randy Marion is expected to receive a total of 285 Mullen ONE vans as part of their order for 6K vehicles. The Mullen ONE continues to bolster Mullen’s optimistic outlook, with the company anticipating invoicing over $6M for vehicles by the end of fiscal 2024 Q1 on December 31.
Key Developments in Tech and Innovation
In a recent development, Alphabet’s Google (GOOGL) (GOOG) has reached a preliminary settlement in a class action lawsuit that alleged the tech giant had misled consumers about their privacy protections when using the private browsing Incognito mode of its Chrome web browser.
The lawsuit sought at least $5 billion. Settlement terms were not disclosed, but the lawyers said they expected to present a formal settlement for court approval by February 24, 2024.
Cathie Wood’s ARK Next Generation Internet ETF (ARKW) dumped its remaining Grayscale Bitcoin Trust (OTC:GBTC) shares and acquired 4.3M shares of ProShares Bitcoin Strategy ETF (BITO), in an end-of-year revamp, ARK Invest disclosed late Wednesday.
Per The Economic Times, Elon Musk is confident that India will soon have its first Tesla (TSLA) plant. However, the announcement isn’t official.
Outlook for 2024
Wedbush Securities is feeling good about consumer internet platforms in 2024, with top picks including Amazon (AMZN), Meta (META), Booking (BKNG), and Uber (UBER).
Their projections diverge from what most investors are expecting, predicting that areas like retail media growth, travel, and virtual reality adoption could surprise analysts in 2024.
- Retail media growth could pull advertising dollars away from digital advertising mediums, creating headwinds for Google and Meta.
- Travel materially outperforms expectations and consumer preferences for experiences over goods persist, benefiting Airbnb and Booking.
- Consumer-facing generative AI product adoption proves further out than expected, hurting Meta, Google, and Microsoft.
- 2024 could surprise investors should ongoing side projects at Amazon and Alphabet become more prominent commercially and are increasingly discussed by management.
- Virtual reality adoption accelerates. Meta released its latest VR headset, the Meta Quest 3, in October, and Apple is reportedly planning to launch its first headset, the Vision Pro, in late January or early February.
Editor’s Note: This article discusses one or more securities that do not trade on a major U.S. exchange. Please be aware of the risks associated with these stocks.