Busy Week Saw Strong End to January

Investors were focused on the Fed's rate hike as well as Big Tech earnings

Deputy Editor
Feb 3, 2023 at 2:18 PM
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This week saw the market close out a very strong monthly start to the year, as investors focused on the U.S. Federal Reserve's two-day policy meeting and a host of Big Tech earnings. The S&P 500 Index (SPX) closed its best January in four years on Tuesday, while the Nasdaq Composite (IXIC) finished with its best start to the year since 2001. In a widely expected move, the Fed issued a 0.25 percent interest rate hike on Wednesday, though Wall Street still closed with gains.

Facebook parent Meta Platforms' fourth-quarter report was the talk of the town on Thursday, giving the S&P 500 and Nasdaq a boost, though the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) finished with a triple-digit loss. Friday, investors sifted through earnings reports from three other Big Tech giants as well as jobs data, with all three major benchmarks headed for strong weekly wins. 

Big Tech in Focus

Meta Platforms' strong fourth-quarter report had the stock soaring, though it's worth noting that it typically underperforms in February. Meanwhile, options bulls targeted Amazon.com Inc (AMZN) ahead of its report, though many were likely disappointed following the stock's post-earnings reaction. Apple (AAPL) and Alphabet (GOOGL) both posted lower-than-expected earnings, with the former posting a rare top-line sales decline. Analysts and options traders were quick to chime in on all three Friday. 

Notable Analyst Calls

There was plenty of buzz from the brokerage bunch amid the busy week. Goldman Sachs weighed in on three retail stocks, naming Macy's (M) the "best-positioned" in the retail sector going into 2023. Meanwhile Credit Suisse called sentiment surrounding Foot Locker (FL) "overly bearish," while Snap (SNAP) was bombarded with post-earnings bear notes, and two analysts upgraded FedEx (FDX) after its cost-cutting measures

Next Week Slower on Wall Street

After a busy past couple of weeks, economic data is fairly sparse next week, though there will still be plenty of earnings reports. In the meantime, after such a strong start to the year, it's hard not to muse over the January Barometer, a theory that the performance of stocks in January can predict how the rest of the year will turn out.


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