Stock Market Today: Stocks pause November rally, surging Microsoft paces tech

The S&P 500 is less than 2% from its summertime peak heading and riding a three-week winning streak into the Thanksgiving break.

Nov 20, 2023 - 19:30
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Stock Market Today: Stocks pause November rally, surging Microsoft paces tech

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U.S. equity futures turned lower Monday, while the dollar extended declines against its global peers and Treasury yields steadied, as investors looked to protect a solid November rally amid a light calendar of events in the holiday-shortened week. 

Updated 8:13 AM EST

Bristol Myers  (BMY) - Get Free Report share slumped 4.2% in heavy pre-market volume after German rival Bayer scrapped a late-stage trial of its blood-thinning drug that casts doubt on the future of Bristol Myers' developing  milvexian treatment, which the drugmaker said could generate more than $5 billion in annual sales if approved.

Bristol Myers shares were marked 4.2% lower and indicating an opening bell price of $48.70 each. Its partner in milvexian development, Johnson & Johnson  (JNJ) - Get Free Report, is down 1.3%. 

Related: Bristol Myers slumps as Bayer trial failure casts doubt on $5 billion drug

Updated 6:58 AM EST

Microsoft  (MSFT) - Get Free Report shares are a key early-mover Monday after it said OpenAI founder Sam Altman, who was ousted by the board of the ChatGPT creator late Friday, will join the tech giant and lead its AI effort.

Microsoft shares were marked 2% higher as the most active stock in pre-market trading to indicate an opening bell price of $377.03 each, a fresh all-time high that would value it at around $2.8 trillion.

Related: Microsoft surges as OpenAI founder Sam Altman joins tech giant to lead AI effort

Stocks notched their third consecutive weekly gain Friday, the longest winning streak since July, taking the S&P 500 to a searing November gain of 7.64% and putting the benchmark less than 2% from the 52-week highs it reached earlier this summer. 

The Treasury yield pullback that has triggered the remarkable November rally, however, has been stuck in neutral for the past few sessions, and could turn sharply if today's 20-year bond auction sees a slump in foreign demand of a big decline in domestic participation. The Treasury will publish the results at around 1:00 pm Eastern time.

Benchmark 10-year notes yields were last seen trading at 4.482% heading into the early New York session, while 2-year notes held at 4.901% following Friday's better-than-expected October housing data.

Related: Wall Street cheers lower inflation, but a new risk has investors on edge

The larger moves overnight, however, were in the U.S. dollar, which fell to a fresh two-month low of 103.478 against a basket of its global peers before steadying at 103.588, well below its 200-day moving average, as investors continue to discount any Federal Reserve rate hikes while pricing in cuts for as early as May. 

Investors will likely focus on language from the Fed's November policy decision, which held rates steady for a second consecutive month at between 5.25% and 5.5%, when minutes of the two-day meeting are released Wednesday, for indications as to how policymakers are viewing the central bank's rate path.

A smattering of earnings over the next three days, including a third quarter update from Nvidia  (NVDA) - Get Free Report after the close of trading on Tuesday, will also keep Wall Street focused ahead of Thursday's market holiday and the traditionally thin liquidity of Black Friday. 

Heading into the start of the trading day, futures contracts tied to the S&P 500 are indicating a modest 2 point dip  while those linked to the Dow Jones Industrial Average are priced for a 31 point gain. The tech-focused Nasdaq, which is up 9.92% for the month, is set for a 2 point bump.

In overseas markets, Europe's Stoxx 600 was little-changed in early Frankfurt trading, with drugmaker Bayer AG plunging 20% to a new multi-decade low following the cancellation of late-stage trials of its blood-thinning treatment. 

Overnight in Asia, Japan's Nikkei 225 touched a fresh 33-year intra-day high of 33,853.46 points before profit taking pushed the benchmark 0.59% lower in the session, while the region-wide MSCI ex-Japan index was marked 0.91% higher into the close of trading.

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