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Nasdaq flies toward 200-day average after batch of US data

Today's optimistic US data failed to derail the rally in Nasdaq as it climbed back above $12,000.

The Nasdaq 100 index jumped notably today, adding to yesterday’s massive reversal, rising more than 1% ahead of the US session.

Full macro calendar today

The number of Americans applying for unemployment benefits for the first time fell to 186,000 versus the 205,000 expected. Since April 2022, this is the lowest threshold for the initial claims. While initial claims continued to decline, continuing claims rose (for the second week in a row) to 1.67 million in the previous week.

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Furthermore, due to November’s surprise decline, economists anticipated a significant increase in US durable goods orders in preliminary December statistics (despite Manufacturing survey data deep in contraction).

They were correct, but the magnitude of the comeback was truly unprecedented, as Durable Goods New Orders surged 5.6% month-on-month, more than double the +2.5% that was estimated. This is the most significant increase since July 2020.

GDP above expectations

The US economy grew at an annualized rate of 2.9% in the fourth quarter, according to a preliminary estimate released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA).

This number followed the 3.2% expansion reported in the third quarter and was somewhat better than the 2.6% expansion anticipated by the market.

“The increase in real GDP reflected increases in private inventory investment, consumer spending, federal government spending, state and local government spending, and nonresidential fixed investment that were partly offset by decreases in residential fixed investment and exports,” the BEA explained in its publication

For the entire year, the GDP expanded by 2.1%, compared to 5.9% in 2021, which was the highest growth rate since 1984.

Lastly, in terms of inflation, the favored gauge of the Federal Reserve revealed that prices remained stabilized throughout the quarter. The price index for personal consumption expenditures (PCE) increased at an annualized pace of 3.2%, down from 4.3% in the previous three months.

Core PCE, which excludes volatile food and energy components, grows by 3.9% annually compared to 4.7% in the previous two quarters.

From other news, the Washington Post reported on Wednesday that Federal Reserve Vice Chair Lael Brainard is a leading candidate to lead the White House’s National Economic Council. Brainard’s status as a Governor and Vice Chair is valid until 2026.

As previously mentioned, the index is trying to attack the 200-day moving average (the blue line), currently near $12,040. That is a major selling area as previous highs are also located there. However, if the price closes above that zone, the medium-term uptrend could be confirmed, likely pushing the price above $13,000.

Nasdaq daily chart

Nasdaq daily chart, source: author’s analysis, tradingview.com

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