Stock Market Today: Stocks End Mixed To Start Q2

Strong readings on the manufacturing data lowered expectations for a June rate cut and kept investors on edge.

closeup of financial chart with teal and orange bars
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Monday's good-news-is-bad-news manufacturing data sparked concern over the Federal Reserve's rate-cut plans and kept a lid on sentiment. 

Several key events over the next few weeks could impact when the central bank may or may not start lowering the federal funds rate including this Friday's jobs report, which economists expect to show a still-strong labor market.  

S&P Global kicked off this morning's relatively busy economic calendar with the release of its March Manufacturing Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) which measures manufacturing activity. The index slipped to 51.9 in March from February's 52.2, though it was the third straight month it was above the 50 mark that indicates expansion. 

Subscribe to Kiplinger’s Personal Finance

Be a smarter, better informed investor.

Save up to 74%

Sign up for Kiplinger’s Free E-Newsletters

Profit and prosper with the best of expert advice on investing, taxes, retirement, personal finance and more - straight to your e-mail.

Profit and prosper with the best of expert advice - straight to your e-mail.

Sign up

Meanwhile, the Institute for Supply Management said its Manufacturing PMI swung into expansion territory in March, arriving at 50.3% vs February's 47.8%. However, the data also showed that the ISM's Manufacturing Price Index – a measure of inflation – rose to an 18-month high of 55.8% last month.

Recent hotter-than-expected economic reports have pushed back expectations on the Fed's rate-cut plans and today's data continued that trend. According to CME Group's FedWatch Tool, futures traders are currently pricing in a 57% chance the first quarter-point rate cut will come in June, down from 64% one week ago. The odds of it happening in July are at 52%, up from last week's 48%.

What's more, commentary from central bank officials seems they're in no hurry to lower the federal funds rate if they don't need to. Indeed, in a moderated discussion last Friday, Fed Chair Jerome Powell said the central bank will be careful about its decision to cut interest rates "because it can be. The economy is strong: We see very strong growth."

AT&T stock slips after data breach news

In single-stock news, AT&T (T) fell 0.6% on news of a massive cybersecurity attack. In a statement, the telecommunications company said it is investigating the data breach which likely took place in 2019 or earlier and impacted 73 million former and current customers. (Here's what to do if you were affected by the AT&T breach.)

AT&T also said that the incident has not had "a material impact on its operations."

Buffett buys more Liberty SiriusXM shares

Elsewhere, Liberty SiriusXM Group Series C (LSXMK) dropped 1.4% even after regulatory filings revealed Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.B, -0.1%) bought 8.9 million shares over the final two weeks of Q1. 

Form 4 filings also showed Buffett's holding company acquired 3.8 million shares of Liberty SiriusXM Group Series A (LSXMA, -1.3%), the class with voting rights. The two stocks have been a part of the Berkshire Hathaway equity portfolio since Q2 2016. 

The full list of all the stocks Buffett bought and sold in the first quarter will be released next month.

As for the main indexes, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.6% to 39,566 and the S&P 500 shed 0.2% to 5,243. The Nasdaq Composite eked out a 0.1% gain to 16,396 on strength in several mega-cap stocks such as Alphabet (GOOGL, +3.0%) and Meta Platforms (META, +1.2%).

Related content

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.