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US stocks retreated on Monday to put a record-setting rally on pause, as investors girded for a week where Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell’s testimony and the monthly jobs report could put equity gains to the test.

The S&P 500 (^GSPC) shed about 0.1% after ending Friday with its 16th weekly win in 18 weeks. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (^DJI) fell roughly 0.3%, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite (^IXIC) slid 0.2%.

Stocks have racked up gains amid a relentless AI-spurred run-up in techs, which helped the Nasdaq Composite (^IXIC) to finally nail a fresh all-time high after a yearslong wait. That tech rally, and Nvidia’s (NVDA) breakneck rise to a $2 trillion valuation in particular, has prompted concerns about a building bubble — though some analysts are less worried.

Also on Monday, bitcoin’s (BTC-USD) continued rise saw the cryptocurrency top $65,000 to move closer to a record high, while Japan’s Nikkei 225 stock index (^N225) breached the key 40,000 level for the first time.

A dose of reality could lie ahead for the high hopes and the hype, when the Fed’s Powell steps up to speak and the February jobs data arrive. Both will play into calculations for interest-rate cuts and shed light on whether the US economy is headed for a “soft landing” or stagflation. Powell is set to give testimony to Congress from Wednesday, while the labor data is due on Friday.

Meanwhile, in a shot across the bows for Big Tech, EU antitrust regulators fined Apple (AAPL) almost $2 billion over App Store restrictions on Spotify (SPOT) and other music streaming services. Apple shares slipped after the news.

Among big movers, Macy’s (M) stock jumped over 16% after bidders Arkhouse and Brigade raised their buyout offer to $6.6 billion, a 33% premium to the closing price on Friday.

Spirit Airlines (SAVE) shares fell more than 12% and JetBlue stock (JBLU) rose 5% after the low cost carriers announced the termination of their $3.8 billion merger agreement. A federal judge blocked the deal back in January.

Meanwhile shares in Super Micro Computer (SMCI) popped 16% on Monday ahead of the AI server maker’s entry on the S&P 500.

Live3 updates

  • Stocks pause rally, bitcoin tops $65,000

    Stocks opened lower on Monday, pausing their recent rally as the market prepares for testimony from Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell this week and a monthly jobs report that could put equity gains to the test.

    The S&P 500 (^GSPC) shed about 0.2% while the Dow Jones Industrial Average (^DJI) fell 0.5%. The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composit (^IXIC) was little changed.

    Also on Monday, bitcoin’s (BTC-USD) rose to top $65,000, inching closer to a record high.

  • Spirit stock sinks on termination of JetBlue merger agreement

    (SAVE) stock plunged as much as 16% in pre-market on Monday after its $3.8 billion merger agreement with JetBlue (JBLU), blocked by a court in January, was terminated by the low cost carriers.

    “After discussing our options with our advisors and JetBlue, we concluded that current regulatory obstacles will not permit us to close this transaction in a timely fashion under the merger agreement,” Spirit’s CEO Ted Christie said in a company statement.

    JetBlue’s proposed acquisition of Spirit fell apart after a federal judge blocked the deal on January 16 amid antitrust concerns.

    Shares of JetBlue gained more than 5% in pre-market after the announcement . Spirit shares are down roughly 60% year-to-date.

  • The head-shaking stats around Nvidia

    Some of the hottest Trending Tickers on Yahoo Finance this morning are crypto-related. No surprise as bitcoin has busted through $65,000 and excitement builds for a potential halving event in April.

    But to me, the main story in markets remains the frenzied trade around AI sweetheart Nvidia (NVDA). As this stock goes, so too will go the market in 2024 (and 2025, 2026, 2027…).

    A few stats on Nvidia to get you thinking:

    • Nvidia is now 3rd most valuable US company: $2.05 trillion market cap.

    • It only took 180 trading days for Nvidia’s market cap to go from $1 trillion to $2 trillion.

    • The stock is rated “buy” by 92% of the analysts covering it.

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