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US close: Stocks sharply lower as investors look to take profits

(Sharecast News) - Wall Street stocks closed sharply lower on Wednesday, snapping major averages' recent positive run as investors took some profits. At the close, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 1.27% at 37,082.00, while the S&P 500 slipped 1.47% to 4,698.35 and the Nasdaq Composite saw out the session 1.50% weaker at 14,777.94.

The Dow closed 475.92 points lower on Wednesday after registering its ninth-straight winning session a day earlier.

Even with the losses, all three major averages were in the green for December, and the year as a whole, as market participants continued to look ahead to multiple rate cuts from the Federal Reserve in 2024.

In focus on Wednesday, Red Sea concerns were still weighing on sentiment despite a US pledge to assemble a cross-country naval force in the region. Brent crude was 0.91% stronger at $79.95 a barrel, while West Texas Intermediate was changing hands 1.01% higher at $74.69 a barrel.

On the macro front, mortgage applications fell 1.5% in the week ended 15 December, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association of America, dropping from a 7.4% surge a week earlier and halting a six-week run of increased applications. Applications to refinance a home dropped by 2% but remained 18% higher year-on-year, while applications to purchase a home were 1% lower week-on-week but also remained 18% higher on an annualised basis.

Elsewhere, US existing home sales increased month-on-month in November for their first increase in five months. According to the National Association of Realtors, rose 0.8% month-on-month to a seasonally adjusted annualised rate of 3.82m units in November, rebounding from 3.79m in October - the lowest level since August 2010. The figures came in ahead of forecasts of 3.77m, principally due to a fall in mortgage rates.

Finally, consumer confidence in the US jumped in December, according to the Conference Board, as perceptions of current and future conditions turned more optimistic. The closely watched monthly release of the consumer confidence index rose to 110.7 this month, up from 101.0 in November, which was revised down from initial estimates. However, the consensus estimate was for a reading closer to 104.5.

In the corporate space, logistics firm FedEx was in the red on Wednesday after it cut revenue forecasts amid weaker demand, while General Mills also lowered its full-year sales forecasts as a result of softer demand, and recreation vehicle firm Winnebago beat on revenues with its latest quarterly figures but fell short on profits.

Reporting by Iain Gilbert at

Dow Jones - Risers

Dowdupont Inc. (DWDP) $0.00 0.00% McDonald's Corp. (MCD) $288.90 -0.60% Dow Chemical Co. (DOW) $54.58 -0.62% Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) $370.62 -0.71% Verizon Communications Inc. (VZ) $37.30 -0.72% Cisco Systems Inc. (CSCO) $49.80 -0.76% Chevron Corp. (CVX) $150.25 -0.92% International Business Machines Corporation (CDI) (IBM) $160.24 -0.93% Home Depot Inc. (HD) $348.66 -0.97% Nike Inc. (NKE) $121.43 -0.99%

Dow Jones - Fallers

Walt Disney Co. (DIS) $91.27 -2.83% American Express Co. (AXP) $180.65 -2.75% 3M Co. (MMM) $103.67 -2.43% Walgreens Boots Alliance, Inc. (WBA) $25.40 -2.42% Coca-Cola Co. (KO) $57.61 -2.07% Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) $153.27 -2.04% Intel Corp. (INTC) $45.76 -1.93% Unitedhealth Group Inc. (UNH) $515.93 -1.55% Salesforce.Com Inc. (CRM) $260.25 -1.55% Procter & Gamble Co. (PG) $143.91 -1.55%

S&P 500 - Risers

CVS Health Corp (CVS) $77.24 1.29% Alphabet Inc. Class A (GOOGL) $138.34 1.24% Alphabet Inc. Class C (GOOG) $139.66 1.13% Johnson Controls International plc (JCI) $54.72 1.09% eBay Inc. (EBAY) $42.98 1.08% Foot Locker Inc. (FL) $31.70 0.89% Allegion (ALLE) $120.54 0.85% Dollar Tree Inc (DLTR) $134.41 0.61% CIGNA Corp. (CI) $295.85 0.52% Sl Green Realty Corp. (SLG) $45.99 0.37%

S&P 500 - Fallers

Dxc Technology Company (DXC) $21.99 -12.15% FedEx Corp. (FDX) $246.25 -12.05% CenturyLink Inc. (LUMN) $1.66 -6.21% Aon plc (AON) $294.12 -6.03% Mosaic Company (MOS) $35.98 -5.69% Kohls Corp. (KSS) $27.20 -5.62% AES Corp. (AES) $18.37 -5.11% Altria Group Inc. (MO) $40.30 -5.04% Hanesbrands Inc. (HBI) $3.94 -4.60% Archer-Daniels-Midland Co. (ADM) $70.68 -4.41%

Nasdaq 100 - Risers

Liberty Global plc Series A (LBTYA) $16.46 2.11% Liberty Global plc Series C (LBTYK) $17.29 1.41% Alphabet Inc. Class A (GOOGL) $138.34 1.24% Alphabet Inc. Class C (GOOG) $139.66 1.13% eBay Inc. (EBAY) $42.98 1.08% Dollar Tree Inc (DLTR) $134.41 0.61% Cerner Corp. (CERN) $0.00 0.00% Mylan Inc. (MYL) $0.00 0.00% Alexion Pharmaceuticals Inc. (ALXN) $0.00 0.00% Maxim Integrated Products Inc. (MXIM) $0.00 0.00%

Nasdaq 100 - Fallers

Qurate Retail Inc. (QRTEA) $0.85 -7.75%, Inc. (JD) $26.43 -4.24% Micron Technology Inc. (MU) $78.69 -4.24% Sirius XM Holdings Inc (SIRI) $5.23 -4.04% Biomarin Pharmaceutical Inc. (BMRN) $92.66 -4.02% Tesla Inc (TSLA) $247.14 -3.92% Hasbro Inc (HAS) $50.00 -3.79% Wynn Resorts Ltd. (WYNN) $88.55 -3.46% Lam Research Corp. (LRCX) $754.93 -3.34% Applied Materials Inc. (AMAT) $156.92 -3.33%

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Important information: This information is not a personal recommendation for any particular investment. If you are unsure about the suitability of an investment you should speak to one of Fidelity’s advisers or an authorised financial adviser of your choice. When you are thinking about investing in shares, it’s generally a good idea to consider holding them alongside other investments in a diversified portfolio of assets. Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future returns.

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