Stock Market Today: Dow, Nasdaq Snap Daily Win Streaks

The major benchmarks looked like they were heading for a 10th straight win today but turned lower into the close.

blue stock market chart with red and teal bars and green moving average
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Stocks marched higher throughout most of Wednesday's session but fell off a cliff in mid-afternoon trading. Volume is starting to taper off ahead of the long holiday weekend, with the stock and bond markets closed Monday for Christmas Day. Based on today's price action, it seems the market participants who stuck around chose to take some profits following the market's red-hot run.  

The Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 0.2% at its intraday peak – heading for its sixth straight record close – before ending the day down 1.3% at 37,082. The S&P 500 shed 1.5% to 4,698, and the Nasdaq Composite fell 1.5% to 14,777. Both the Dow and the Nasdaq snapped nine-day winning streaks.

The stock market has been rallying on optimism over easing inflation and expectations the Federal Reserve will start cutting interest rates as soon as Q1 of next year. According to CME Group, futures traders are pricing in a 70% chance of a quarter-point rate hike in March. Markets also assign a 56% probability to the federal funds rate being an entire percentage point lower in July from its current range of 5.25-5.5%.

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The next inflation update comes Friday with the release of the November Personal Consumption and Expenditures (PCE) index, which measures consumer spending. 

Consumer confidence spikes in December

Consumer confidence and existing home sales were the two big reports on the economic calendar Wednesday. Data from The Conference Board showed its Consumer Confidence Index surged to 110.7 in December from November's downwardly revised reading of 101.0.

"December's increase in consumer confidence reflected more positive ratings of current business conditions and job availability, as well as less pessimistic views of business, labor market, and personal income prospects over the next six months," said Dana Peterson, chief economist at The Conference Board. Rising prices remain a top concern for consumers, the survey found.

Separately, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) said existing home sales ticked up by 0.8% from October to November and were down 7.3% year-over-year. Lawrence Yun, chief economist at NAR, said high mortgage rates were to blame for the weakness in sales of previously owned homes, but he anticipates a turnaround as mortgage rates have declined recently.

FedEx, General Mills sink on soft guidance

In single-stock news, FedEx (FDX) tumbled 12.1% after the logistics giant reported earnings. In addition to falling short on both the top and bottom lines in its fiscal second quarter, FedEx lowered its full-year revenue outlook for a second time, now expecting a "low-single-digit percentage decline" in fiscal 2024 revenue vs its prior outlook for "approximately flat revenue growth."

Despite today's spiral, Baird analyst Garrett Holland says investors should "remain buyers" of the industrial stock. FedEx is a "leader in global express delivery," and is "well-positioned to capitalize on secular growth in e-commerce,"  Holland writes in a note to clients. "Buy on weakness as cyclical leverage, structural margin opportunity, and attractive valuation continue to make FDX a top large-cap idea for 2024."

General Mills (GIS, -3.6%) was another post-earnings decliner. The Cheerios maker reported higher-than-expected fiscal second-quarter earnings of $1.25 per share, but revenue of $5.1 billion missed analysts' estimates. The company also lowered its full-year revenue forecast, citing "a continued challenging consumer landscape."

GIS continues to see "double-digit cost inflation in the second half of fiscal 2023 and didn't rule out any additional price increases," says CFRA Research analyst Arun Sundaram (Sell). "We sense it will be increasingly difficult for GIS to pass through incremental costs over the next few quarters, particularly since retailers seem to be pushing back more."

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Karee Venema
Senior Investing Editor,

With over a decade of experience writing about the stock market, Karee Venema is the senior investing editor at She joined the publication in April 2021 after 10 years of working as an investing writer and columnist at Schaeffer's Investment Research. In her previous role, Karee focused primarily on options trading, as well as technical, fundamental and sentiment analysis.