The Week's Top Stories is a guided tour through the biggest market stories of the week, from winning stocks to brutal dips to the facts and forecasts generating buzz on Wall Street.
RATE HIKE WORRIES
It was a bumpy week on Wall Street, adding to an already volatile 2023 for investors. Stock drifted in and out of the red throughout the week, as investors continued to trade speculation about what, exactly, the Federal Reserve might do rate-wise now that the economy is proving more resilient and inflationary than expected. Despite this narrative, stocks recovered Friday. The Dow Jones Industrial rose 1.47 percent, and the S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite jumped 1.33 and 1.49 respectively.
Target's stock fell this week after it released a tepid forecast for the coming year. The retail giant reported that consumers are pulling back spending, and the near-term inflation picture doesn't offer much hope of a bounce back. On top of that, the company said that its recent spate of markdowns is likely to continue for a little bit longer, which means continued pressure on profit margins. Because of these headwinds, Target said it's investing $5 billion to open new stores and revamp existing ones to encourage impulse buying.
Ford's stock is up nearly 10 percent this week, following an earnings report showing a 22 percent jump in sales in February from the year before. The legacy automaker bolstered the positive sentiment with the announcement that it planned to resume production of pickups and electric vehicles in the popular F-Series. The assembly line was idled after a battery in an F-150 Lightning caught fire in the company's parking lot. Ford said the cause of the fire has been discovered and has now been solved. Production will resume on March 13. The increased pace of sales beat Wall Street estimates, which predicted a less than 10 percent jump.
AI STOCK SURGES
Shares of artificial intelligence software company C3.ai skyrocketed nearly 30 percent on Friday. The rally appears to be fueled by support from retail investors, who have put their weight behind the lesser known AI-related stock. In addition, momentum is building around the AI space, with new enterprise applications rapidly gaining traction with investors. The company also beat Wall Street estimates on profit and revenue in its latest earnings report. C3.ai is aiming to become fully profitable by the year 2024.