Stocks edge up slightly on market open, oil falls

Shares were slightly higher early Wednesday while oil prices fell over 3% ahead of the bank holiday weekend for US investors.

Shortly after the market open, the S&P 500, Dow and Nasdaq were each up more than 0.1%, with the Dow accelerating gains and up 0.25% about 5 minutes after the opening bell on Wall Street.

Wednesday is the last full trading day this week, with US markets closed tomorrow for Thanksgiving and markets open for only half a day on Black Friday.

Investors face a busy economic calendar ahead of the bank holiday weekend, with the latest weekly jobless claims data showing 240,000 new jobless claims were filed last week, the most since mid-August. Economists were expecting a total of 225,000 initial claims for the week ended Nov. 19.

October durable goods orders were also released early Wednesday, showing orders rising 1% over the last month, bucking expectations for a 0.4% rise, according to data from Bloomberg.

Data on manufacturing activity, new home sales and minutes from the Fed’s most recent monetary policy meeting are also scheduled to be released on Wednesday.

Traders are trying to build on recent momentum for the US stock market, with the S&P 500 closing above 4,000 for the first time in two months on Tuesday, while the Dow closed at a three-month high.

Over the past month, the Dow is up almost 10%, while the S&P 500 is up more than 6.5%. The tech-heavy Nasdaq continues to lag, up less than 3% over the period, as higher interest rates and the collapse of crypto markets weigh on the broader tech industry.

Still, recent market moves have caused some strategists to turn more optimistic towards the end of the year, although top-flight teams from Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs issued a more cautious outlook for the stock market this week.

“The market is like a spiral spring,” said Brian Belski, chief investment strategist at BMO Capital Markets Yahoo Finance Live said on Tuesday. “I think the market will keep going… higher. I really think there’s a good chance we’ll be well over 4,000 [on the S&P 500] at the end of the year.”

Belski has a year-end price target of 4,300 for the S&P 500, which means the index could gain about another 8% by the end of this year.

Elsewhere in markets, oil prices remained under pressure early Wednesday, with WTI futures trading down 3% to about $78.20 a barrel, within a few dollars from 2022 lows, amid conflicting reports on the Saudi Arabian Production this week and news that the US is getting closer Announcement of a price cap on Russian oil exports.

In crypto markets, the fallout from FTX’s collapse continues to resonate through the industry, although Bitcoin’s price is up a few percentage points early Wednesday, trading near $16,580.

On Tuesday, Digital Currency Group, parent company of ailing exchange Genesis Global, emerged as the latest major crypto player, assuring investors that a bankruptcy filing is not imminent.

In a memo to DCG employees, CEO Barry Silbert said the decision to halt repayments and new activity at Genesis last week was due to a “liquidity and duration mismatch in Genesis’ loan book.”

Silbert revealed that intercompany loans were made between DCG and Genesis, but argued that those loans were made “in the same manner as hundreds of crypto investment firms.”

On the earnings side, this morning’s results from Deere & Co. (DE) pushed shares up about 4%, with the agribusiness giant reporting earnings that beat expectations.

John Deere tractor is named during a tractor race "Traktoryja"  organized as part of the traditional Dozhinki harvest festival.  Gieraltowice, Wadowice County in Poland on August 28, 2022. The participants drove in five different classes depending on the engine power of a tractor.  For the first time women took part in the race.  (Photo by Beata Zawrzel/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

John Deere tractor is seen during a tractor race called “Traktoryja” organized as part of the traditional Dozhinki harvest festival. Gieraltowice, Wadowice County in Poland on August 28, 2022. (Photo by Beata Zawrzel/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Other gainers early Wednesday included names that released earnings after Tuesday’s close, including HP (HPQ), Nordstrom (JWN) and Autodesk (ADSK).

HP shares fell about 0.5% early Wednesday after the company announced plans to reduce its workforce by up to 12%, or 6,000 jobs, by the end of fiscal 2025 in response to a slowdown in the PC market.

Nordstrom shares fell as much as 8% early Wednesday after reporting a drop in sales in the most recent quarter and forecasting lower full-year earnings.

Autodesk (ADSK) shares fell more than 9% after the company lowered its forecasts for billing and cash flow this year, citing “less demand for multi-year upfront payments and more demand for annual contracts than we expected.”

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