Market Review: March 12, 2024

Closing Recap

Tuesday, March 12, 2024





DJ Industrials




S&P 500








Russell 2000













U.S. stock markets continue to surge, pushing higher all day in a massive bounce despite another “hot” inflation reading (CPI) in February as today’s action was a bit of a surprise given the economic data results. Since the end of October, U.S. stocks have been in a straight line higher across the board, while pullbacks during that stretch have been sparse and shallow (haven’t had a 3-day losing streak since the first week of January for SPX). The rally in tech has been boosted on prospect for AI growth potential with chip players (NVDA, AMD, ARM, TSM, SMCI) among the biggest winners (SOX +19% YTD). But the rally in other sectors started in December after the Fed “pivot” from rate hikes to interest rate cuts in 2024. Market expectations to kick off 2024 were for 6-rate cuts by the Fed over 2024 on signs that inflation was under control/decelerating steadily, boosting appetite risk assets from crypto, to biotech to any sector that could benefit from reduced rates. That is how 2024 started but since then, we have had 2 consumer price index (CPI) reports coming in above views, and a PCE report that was in-line with higher estimates. Rate cut expectations have since been pared back to between 3-4 cuts in 2024 (in-line with Fed dot plots) with the first likely in June (initial ests were for first cut in March). The problem is, stocks have not stopped rising despite the reduced rate cut hopes, leading to ask does inflation no longer matter? It appears markets are firmly in the camp that the Fed will find a reason to cut rates this year (usually not common in an election year) and boost the case for higher risk assets further. Time will tell, but with stock markets at all-time highs, crypto racing to new highs daily (Bitcoin), credit markets showing no sign of stress, and inflation remaining stubbornly high – the question is, what is the case for rate cuts? Not participating in the large cap rally in recent weeks are two of the most popular market leaders in recent years with AAPL and TSLA. The CBOE Volatility index (VIX) was weak all down, falling over 8% below 14 as there remains no fear in the market. Nine of eleven S&P sectors finished higher, led by Tech (XLK) behind better ORCL results, more buying in mega cap tech.

Economic Data

  • Hot inflation reading: The February consumer price index (CPI) headline readings showed CPI rose +0.4% M/M, in-line with ests and above prior month +0.3% while on a Y/Y basis, CPI rose +3.2% vs. est. +3.1% and vs. 3.1% last month. The core CPI reading (ex-food & energy) also hotter headline rising +0.4% M/M vs. est. +0.3% (in-line with prior month +0.4%) and on a Y/Y basis rose +3.8% vs. est. +3.7%, but down from the +3.9% reading last month. Feb CPI energy +2.3%, gasoline +3.8%, new vehicles -0.1% while CPI food 0.0%, housing +0.4%, owners’ equivalent rent of primary residence +0.4%. Car and truck rental prices were down 10% in February from a year ago, Airline fares were down more than 6% from last year. @charliebilello noted: “The US Inflation Rate has now been above 3% for 35 consecutive months, the longest period of high inflation since the late 1980s/early 1990s.”

Commodities, Currencies & Treasuries

  • Gold prices slip -$22.50 to $2,166.10 an ounce, snapping a streak of 7-consecutive days of new all-time highs as a bounce in the dollar and Treasury yields after higher CPI inflation led to some profit taking.
  • So just how volatile/aggressive a move have we seen in crypto: Charlie Bilello tweeted: "At $57.9B, the total assets in the 11 spot Bitcoin ETFs have now surpassed the AUM in the largest Gold ETF ($57.1B in GLD). Since their start of trading on Jan 11, the Bitcoin ETF assets have more than doubled." Bitcoin prices topped $72K before fading to $70K.
  • The US Treasury sold $39B in 10-year notes at a yield of 4.166% vs. 4.157% when issued prior, with a bid-to-cover at 2.51, as primary dealers take 17.06% of U.S. 9-year 11-month notes sale, direct 18.65% and indirect 64.29%. Treasury yields popped to highs with the 10-yr at 4.16% after the Treasury auction.
  • U.S. crude oil futures settle at $77.56 per barrel, down 37 cents, 0.47% and Brent Crude futures settle at $81.92/bbl, down 29 cents, 0.35%. U.S. crude oil production is expected to rise by 260,000 bpd to 13.19 million barrels in 2024, versus a previously forecast rise of 170,000 bpd, the U.S. Energy Information Administration said on Tuesday. Weekly API inventory data expected tonight and EIA stockpile data tomorrow morning.





WTI Crude















10-Year Note




Sector News Breakdown

Retail, Consumer Staples & Restaurants:

  • In Retail: KSS reported better-than-expected Q4 profit, although revenue of $5.71B was below analysts’ expectations of $5.8B (and below $5.775B y/y); Q4 gross margin was 32.4%, an increase of 937 basis points y/y and comparable sales decreased (-4.3%) vs. est. for decrease of (-3.1%); guided lower sales at $16.43B-$16.76B vs. est. $16.79B.
  • In Footwear: ONON shares fall after Q4 revs miss and guidance disappoints; Q4 net sales CHF 447.1M vs. est. CHF 450.6M; qtrly gross profit margin increased to 60.4% from 58.5%; guides 2024 net sales of at least CHF 2.25B below est. CHF 2.33B.
  • In Food: CASY reported 3Q24 adj. EPS of $2.33 vs. est. $2.14 primarily driven by lower operating expenses (+$0.14), higher PF&DB gross profit (+ $0.10), lower other gross profit (+$0.09) and lower D&A/taxes (+$0.05), partially offset by lower fuel gross profit (-$0.18) and lower G&GM gross profit (-$0.04).

Autos, Leisure, Gaming & Lodging:

  • In Leisure/Casino: MTN reported worse than expected FY guide-down on poor weather and unrelated demand softness, Q2 EPS $5.76 vs. est. $5.98; Q2 revs $1.08B vs. est. $1.15B; cuts FY24 net income view to $270M-$325M from $316M-$394M and sees FY24 Resort Reported EBITDA $849M-$885M vs. est. $928M.
  • In Auto Retail: AAP nears settlement with activist, the WSJ reported late Monday saying activist hedge fund Third Point has a stake in Advance Auto Parts and is close to a settlement with the company that will add three new directors to its board, people familiar with the matter told –  
  • In Used cars: CVNA upgraded from Underperform to Hold at Jefferies and raised tgt to $85 from $30 saying recent expansion in Retail GPU suggests CVNA’s operational adjustments May have driven sustainable improvements to unit economics. Progress toward achieving positive cash flow also reduces downside risk.
  • In EV’s: TSLA shares hit fresh 2024 lows, now down over -30% YTD, before bouncing at midday.


  • Solar names a weak sector on the day with sharp declines in FSLR, ENPH, SPWR, NOVA, RUN, others. Bloomberg noted many planned US solar factories probably won’t be built as cheap imports from Chinese companies push global cell and panel prices so low that even federal subsidies can’t sustain domestic plants, a report warns. President Joe Biden has made bringing clean energy manufacturing back to the US a top priority, both to create jobs and fight climate change.
  • GLNG shares jumped after Stifel noted Argentina energy independent YPF updated investors on their LNG aspirations for using gas from the Vaca Muerta gas field for LNG exports, and it looks very much like Golar’s Hilli is the plan. The firm said as the market gets wind of this, they expect GLNG shares to trade higher.

Bitcoin, FinTech, Payments:

  • Crypto momentum remains clearly to upside after Bitcoin took out its November 2021 all-time highs above $69K, not trading above $72,000 and boosting stocks/names that invest, mine, etc. in Bitcoin (MSTR, COIN, MARA, RIOT). COIN was upgraded from Underperform to Market Perform at Raymond James saying its long-term bias on Coinbase remains negative, but it no longer believes an Underperform is the appropriate near-term investment rating.

Asset Managers (monthly AUM data released):

  • AB prelim assets under management increased to $745 billion during February 2024 from $726 billion at the end of January. The 3% increase in month-end AUM was driven by market appreciation coupled with positive net flows across all channels, led by Retail.
  • APAM prelim AUM as of February 29, 2024 totaled $156.0 billion. Artisan Funds and Artisan Global Funds accounted for $75.5 billion of total firm AUM, while separate accounts and other AUM accounted for $80.5 billion.
  • BEN prelim month-end assets under management (AUM) of $1.62 trillion at February 29, 2024, compared to $1.60 trillion at January 31, 2024. This month’s increase in AUM reflected the impact of positive markets and long-term net inflows inclusive of the previously disclosed $5.5 billion in the retirement channel.
  • CNS prelim assets under management of $79.6 billion as of February 29, 2024, an increase of $333 million from assets under management at January 31, 2024. The increase was due to market appreciation of $1.2 billion, partially offset by net outflows of $683 million and distributions of $155 million.
  • IVZ prelim month-end assets under management (AUM) of $1,630.9 billion, an increase of 3.0% versus the previous month-end. The firm delivered net long-term inflows of $1.8 billion in the month. Non-management fee earning net inflows were $1.9 billion and money market net inflows were $3.5 billion.
  • LAZ prelim Feb assets under management totaled approximately $248.0 billion. The month’s AUM included market appreciation of $7.0 billion, net outflows of $2.0 billion and foreign exchange depreciation of $0.8 billion.
  • TROW prelim month-end assets under management of $1.51 trillion as of February 29, 2024. Preliminary net outflows for February 2024 were $2.0 billion.
  • VCTR February Average Total Assets Under Management was $162.8 billion, average Other Assets was $5.3 billion, and average Total Client Assets was $168.1 billion.
  • VRTS preliminary assets under management of $176.1 billion as of February 29, 2024. In addition, the company provided services to $2.6 billion of other fee-earning assets, which are not included in assets under management.

Biotech & Pharma:

  • ACAD shares tumbled after saying it will stop further clinical trials of antipsychotic drug pimavanserin after it failed to improve negative symptoms of schizophrenia in a late-stage study. Its Phase 3 (ADVANCE-2) trial evaluating Nuplazid for the treatment of negative symptoms of schizophrenia (NSS) did not meet the primary endpoint of change from baseline at week 26 on the Negative Symptom Assessment-16 (NSA-16) total score (-11.8 vs. -11.1; p=0.4825).
  • ANAB was upgraded to Outperform at Wedbush and tgt raised to $34 from $20 as believes a series of derivative and ANAB’s own clinical catalysts will drive shares higher over the next 1-1.5 years. With these catalysts now in sight for investors and with more than enough cash to achieve them, they upgrade shares.
  • IDYA announces clinical collaboration to evaluate IDE161 in combination with MRK’s KEYTRUDA (pembrolizumab) in patients with Endometrial Cancer.
  • MDGL price tgt raised to $405 from $275 at HCW ahead of Resmetirom March 14th PDUFA, saying Resmetirom is set to quickly become the foundational, standard-of-care (SoC) therapy for MASH.
  • OCUL reported Q4 revenue of $14.8M, missing analysts’ average expectation of $15.71M on a wider loss.
  • RGLS announced positive topline data from the second cohort of patients in its phase 1b multiple-ascending dose (MAD) clinical trial of RGLS8429 for the treatment of autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease (ADPKD).
  • VTYX shares were upgraded at Wells Fargo and Oppenheimer after management provided an in-depth overview of the company’s clinical stage pipeline during its investor day. Wells said narrowed focus on NLRP3 portfolio sets up a fresh timelines story moving forward.


  • Several airlines issue monthly forecasts/guidance:
  • AAL guided Q1 adjusted EPS loss at low end of (15c)-(35c) range and now expects to pay an average of between $2.80 and $2.90 per gallon of jet fuel (including taxes) in the first quarter.
  • ALK forecast a narrower-than-expected Q1 loss due to strong travel demand; forecast a quarterly adjusted loss per share of (55c-45c) vs. est. loss (-$1.18); said Q1 forecast reflects an unspecified partial compensation the carrier received from Boeing; Alaska added.
  • DAL said it sees FY24 forecast earnings per share $6-$7; forecasts Q1 total revenue YoY up 3%-6%; expects to deliver year-over-year total revenue growth in the top half of the initial guidance range for the March quarter; reaffirming its outlook, previously provided on January 12, 2024, for full year 2024 and March quarter.
  • JBLU forecasts Q1 CASM ex-fuel YoY 8.5% to 9.5%, forecasts Q1 fuel price $2.93 – $3.03 per gallon and forecasts Q1 available seat miles YoY down 4% to 3% while now sees Q1 revs down 4.5%-7.5% compared to prior outlook of revenue down 5%-9%.
  • LUV shares fell after saying it plans to cut 2024 capacity citing Boeing (BA) challenges; now expects Q1 2024 rasm to be in range of flat to up 2%; sees Q1 2024 capacity to increase about 11%, compared with its previous estimate of about 10%; says reevaluating all prior full year 2024 guidance, including the expectation for capital spending.

Aerospace & Defense

  • BA shares were pressured amid several stories: 1) Boeing whistleblower found dead from ‘self-inflicted’ wound, the BBC reported last night. John Barnett, a former Boeing worker who raised concerns about the company’s production standards, has been found dead in the U.S. – BBC. 2) FAA 6-week audit of Boeing resulted in findings that Boeing failed 33 of 89 product audits conducted by the FAA, was published by the New York Times Monday, while SPR, which makes the fuselage for the MAX, passed six of 13 audits, and failed the rest. The audit comes after the Jan. 5 midair 737 MAX 9 emergency door plug blowout on a flight operated by Alaska Air. 3) LUV issued soft guidance today saying Boeing reportedly informed the airline it could deliver 48 of the 58 737 MAX 8 aircraft previously promised during 2024 (had initially contracted for a total of 79 737 MAX aircraft to be delivered during the year).

Industrials; Materials, Metals & Mining

  • In Metals: AA said it has signed a binding agreement to be acquired by joint-venture partner Alcoa in a deal that values its equity at roughly $2.2B; gold miners (AEM, NEM, GOLD) have had a nice bounce the last 2-weeks, but slide today with gold on the hotter CPI inflation report and subsequent bounce in yields/the dollar.
  • In Agriculture: ADM recorded lower quarterly earnings and sales but said results won’t be affected by an internal probe into its accounting practices; Q4 sales fell to $22.98B below ests $23.79B and profit fell to $565M from $1.02B y/y while earnings sank 42% to $1.06 a share, including a 30-cent hit from impairments and restructuring.
  • In Industrials: MMM shares jumped after saying that William Brown will be appointed as CEO, effective May 1, 2024, replacing Michael Roman, who is appointed to the role of executive chairman of the 3M Board of Directors.

Internet, Media & Telecom

  • In social media: The House is proceeding w/ a vote on a bill to potentially ban TikTok on Wednesday; Senate action is unclear now however, w/ several senators having made public comments yesterday suggesting they do not support the legislation as written. Shares of META, SNAP have been active on this TikTok story in recent days.
  • In Media: NYT initiated at new Buy and $52 tgt at Citigroup as its bullish view is underpinned by two observations. First, the company is in the middle of thoughtful, well-executed digital pivot that should allow it to grow revenues at a mid-single-digit pace through 2026. Second, the balance sheet is pristine with no debt, ample FCF, and robust capital returns (in the form of both dividends and buybacks).

Hardware & Software movers:

  • ORCL delivered a good quarter, coming in line with expectations for total revenue, driven by a beat in cloud and software and delivered operating margin improvement. ORCL Oracle provided a solid revenue outlook — healthy Q4 guidance (though modestly below consensus), growth acceleration for FY25, and reiterated FY26 targets. Reported solid cloud growth metrics, with OCI growth of 49% cc only decelerating slightly from 50% cc in Q2.
  • AAPL said software developers who use Apple’s App Store will be able to distribute apps to EU users directly from their websites this spring as part of changes required by new EU rules forcing Apple to open its closed eco-system. The European Union’s Digital Markets Act (DMA) requires Apple to offer alternative app stores on iPhones and to allow developers to opt out of using its in-app payment system, which charges fees of up to 30%.
  • ASAN posted slight FQ4 beats on the top and bottom line, and saw overall NRR stabilize at 100%, though NRR with >$100K ACV customers downticked again to 115% (from 120% in FQ3) as the Company continues to face headwinds in the tech vertical. Asana reported that 20K customers had upgraded tiers within the new pricing and packaging strategy, driven by demand for AI. Initial FY25 guidance was slightly below prior consensus estimates.


  • Another bounce in market leader semis as the SOX index moved back near 5,000 level initially (off recent record highs of 5,217.83) as momentum players focus on sector. In an interesting stat from Goldman Sachs yesterday, options trading tied to semiconductor stocks made up **42%** of all single-stock options traded on S&P 500 stocks in February. Activity is up more than 400% from last year!


Market commentary provided by Hammerstone Markets, Inc, a firm separate from and not affiliated with Regal Securities. Regal Securities has not participated in the creation of the content, and does not explicitly or implicitly endorse the content.