Stocks Slip While Awaiting Fed Decision

Stocks opened slightly lower on Wednesday as a key decision from the Federal Reserve is expected this afternoon.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell just a fraction of a percent. The S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite both slipped about a third of one percent.

The Fed is expected to cut rates by 25 basis points. This would be the bank’s second rate cut in a decade, after the central bank decided to lower the Fed Funds Rate to a range of 2.0%-2.25% in July. Chairman Jerome Powell will address the media on Wednesday at 2:30 p.m. ET.

Treasury yields fell ahead of the Fed’s announcement. The benchmark 10-year rate dipped to 1.77% from around 1.8%. The 2-year yield traded at 1.7%.

The Fed meeting takes place a couple of days after President Donald Trump called the central bank “boneheads” and asked for zero or even negative rates. The meeting also takes place as China and the U.S. try to reach a deal to end their ongoing trade war.

Trump said on Wednesday that a deal could come soon. China and the U.S. are expected to meet next month. The trade war has dampened the outlook for global economic growth and corporate profit expansion.

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Threat Of Mexican Tariffs Spook Stocks

FRIDAY – Stock index futures tanked on Friday morning, as investors feared President Donald Trump’s surprise threat of tariffs on all Mexico imports, amid a worsening trade war with China, could risk sending the U.S. economy into a recession.

Around 8:25 a.m. ET, Dow Jones Industrial Average futures indicated a drop of 270 points at the open. Futures on the S&P 500 and Nasdaq dropped by more than 1% each. The S&P 500 was already down 5.3% this month through Thursday after trade talks fell apart with China and rhetoric on both sides worsened in May.

The closely watched 10-year Treasury yield dropped to lows not seen since 2017. The U.S. benchmark was yielding 2.17% Friday morning. It was above 2.5% at the beginning of the month. Mexico’s currency, the peso, tanked against the dollar by more than 2% to trade at 19.6 per dollar.

On Thursday evening, Trump announced the U.S. would impose a 5% tariff on all Mexican imports from June 10 until illegal immigration across the southern border was stopped.

The trade war appears to be dragging down the Chinese economy. The country’s manufacturing activity contracted more than expected in the month of May, China government data out overnight showed. The official manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) for May was 49.4, down from April’s reading of 50.1. PMI readings below 50 signal contraction.

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Trade Tensions Spook Stocks

MONDAY – A sharp sell-off will start the week on Wall Street after President Donald Trump said on Sunday that the U.S. will hike tariffs on goods imported from China, casting doubt on recent optimism that the world’s two largest economies were close to a resolution to their trade battle.

Dow Jones Industrial Average futures dropped 457 points as of 8:32 a.m. ET which implied an opening decline of about 440 points. S&P 500 futures lost 1.5% and Nasdaq-100 Index futures dropped 1.9%.

China’s stock markets, meanwhile, fell sharply. The Shanghai Composite dropped 5.6% while the Shenzhen A Shares index plunged more than 7%.

Trump said in a tweet Sunday afternoon that the current 10% levies on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods will rise to 25% on Friday. He also threatened to impose 25% tariffs on an additional $325 billion of Chinese goods “shortly.”

The S&P 500, up 17.5% in 2019 alone, notched a record close on Tuesday. The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite, which has soared more than 20% this year, clinched a record close on Friday. The S&P 500 is set to drop 1.5% on Monday, which would be its biggest one-day decline since March 22, when it dropped 1.9%.

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Japan, South Korea, China Markets Higher As U.S. Markets Closed For Good Friday

FRIDAY – Markets in Japan, South Korea and China traded higher on Friday while other Asia Pacific markets, including Australia, Hong Kong, Singapore and Indonesia, were closed for a public holiday.

The Nikkei 225 in Japan rose 0.5% to 22,200.56 as a number of tech stocks posted gains, with Nintendo shares jumping 14.12%.

On Thursday, Chinese tech giant Tencent won an important approval to start selling the Nintendo Switch game console in China, one of the largest video games market in the world, Reuters reported. The Switch was first released in 2017. U.S.-listed Nintendo ADRs rose more than 12% in the previous session.

In the currency market, the dollar index, which measures the greenback against a basket of its peer, traded at 97.363, climbing from levels near 96.900 earlier in the week. The Japanese yen traded at 111.90 to the dollar, weakening from levels near 111.20 in the previous week.

Oil prices ticked up overnight following declines in crude exports from Saudi Arabia. Global benchmark Brent rose about 35 cents to $ 71.97 a barrel while U.S. crude was up 24 cents to $64.

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Mood turns cautious ahead of earnings season


MONDAY – U.S. stocks were lower Monday, with the market perhaps worried about what is likely to be a tougher earnings season.

At around 8:35 a.m. ET, Dow Jones Industrial Average futures indicated a negative open of more than 100 points. Futures on the S&P 500 and Nasdaq 100 were both marginally lower.

Market focus is largely attuned to corporate results, with major U.S. banks set to get the ball rolling later in the week.

Analysts have warned that the upcoming earnings season could be the first quarter of contracting corporate results since 2016.

J.P. Morgan Chase and Wells Fargo are both set to report their latest figures on Friday.

Before that, minutes from the Federal Reserve’s last meeting are due to be released on Wednesday.

Following the Fed’s most recent meeting in March, the central bank decided to maintain interest rates and hold off on any further increases this year.

On the data front, factory orders for February will be published at around 10 a.m. ET.

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Stocks Rise For Second Week

SUNDAY – Stocks posted their second weekly rise on Friday as stocks were boosted by better-than-expected jobs data and progress on the U.S.-China trade front.

The S&P 500 and Dow Jones Industrial Average both rose about 2% this week, while the Nasdaq Composite jumped 2.7%. On Friday, the S&P 500 and Nasdaq closed up by 0.5% and 0.6%, respectively.

Materials and financials were the best-performing sectors this week, rising 4.3% and 3.3%, respectively. Bank shares led the gains in financials. Morgan Stanley rose more than 6% this week, while Goldman Sachs, Bank of America and Citigroup all ended the week up more than 5%.

The U.S. economy added 196,000 jobs in March, according to data released on Friday by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Economists polled by Dow Jones expected 175,000. The U.S. unemployment rate, meanwhile, remained at 3.8%. However, wage growth expanded 3.2% just below an expected gain of 3.4%.

Wall Street was looking forward to this report after the previous jobs data showed growth of just 20,000. That number was revised higher to 33,000 on Friday.

Friday’s strong jobs report comes after the release of disappointing economic data earlier in the week. Activity in the U.S. services sector fell to its lowest level since August 2017 while payrolls data released on Wednesday was also below expectations.

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Stocks Start Lower On Economic Concerns

THURSDAY – U.S. stock index futures fell on Thursday morning as investors digested the Federal Reserve’s latest announcement on monetary policy as well as a sharp drop in Biogen shares.

At 7:48 a.m. ET, Dow Jones Industrial Average futures indicated a decline of 136 points at the open. Futures on the S&P 500 and Nasdaq 100 also fell.

The Dow closed lower on Wednesday after the Fed announced a more dovish policy. Jerome Powell, the Fed’s chair, said the central bank is forecasting no rate hikes in 2019, which is down from two hikes forecast earlier. U.S. Treasury yields fell on the news, which added pressure on certain stocks, including banks.

Rising rates are good for banks since they are able to lend out money to investors at a profitable rate of interest. Lower interest rates restrict the bank’s ability to make profits thus adding pressure on margins.

The central bank also lowered its growth outlook for the year and indicated it would end its balance-sheet reduction process by the end of September.

U.S.-China trade is also in focus for investors after mixed comments from the White House. President Donald Trump said Wednesday that Washington’s tariffs on Beijing could stay on for a “substantial period of time.”

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Stocks Wobble As Traders Await Fed

WEDNESDAY – U.S. stock indexes barely moved on Wednesday as shares of FedEx fell while investors awaited a policy decision by the Federal Reserve.

At 10:00 a.m. ET, Dow Jones Industrial Average was down just about 100 points. S&P 500 and Nasdaq 100 were also little changed.

Concerns over global growth and U.S.-China trade talks were also renewed to keep stock gains subdued.

Bloomberg News reported some U.S. officials are worried China could walk back on some concessions. However, The Wall Street Journal said U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin both plan to travel to Beijing next week for another round of negotiations with Chinese Vice Premier Liu He. These reports buffeted stocks on Tuesday.

The world’s two largest economies have imposed tariffs on billions of dollars’ worth of one another’s goods over the past year, battering financial markets and souring business and consumer sentiment.

In Asia, MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares, excluding Japan, dipped 0.4 percent.

No economic data are expected on Wednesday, however, on the earnings front, General Mills is set to report its results before the bell and Williams-Sonoma will report after the bell.

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S&P Posts Best Weekly Gain Since November

SUNDAY – Stocks posted strong weekly gains, led by tech shares, as investors cheered renewed optimism on the U.S.-China trade front on Friday.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed 138.93 points to 25,848.87 as Boeing shares turned around to close 1.5 percent higher. Boeing’s turnaround was sparked by a report saying the company planned to roll out a software upgrade for its 737 Max aircraft. The stock had been under pressure all week after an Ethiopian Airlines flight using a 737 Max plane crashed on Sunday, which prompted several countries to ground flights involving the plane.

Gains in the tech and consumer discretionary sectors pushed the S&P 500 up 0.5 percent to 2,822.48. Tech shares also bolstered the Nasdaq Composite, which climbed 0.8 percent to 7,688.53.

The S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite both rose at least 2.9 percent, though the laggard Dow gained only 1.7 percent amid Boeing’s troubles. The S&P 500 also posted its biggest one-week gain since November.

Stocks have been on a tear this year, with the three major indexes rising more than 10 percent each in 2019.

This week’s gains were largely led by tech shares, as the sector surged 4.9 percent. The tech sector also became the best-performer of 2019. Nvidia was the best-performing stock in the sector, rising more than 12 percent while fellow semiconductor stocks like Broadcom and Lam Research also rose sharply this week.

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Stocks Lower After Low Jobs Numbers Stoke Slowdown Fears

FRIDAY – Stocks fell on Friday after the U.S. government released employment data that badly missed expectations, adding to growing concerns that the global economy may be slowing down.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average pulled back 215 points as Caterpillar and Chevron lagged. The S&P 500 fell 0.8 percent as the energy and tech sectors both dropped more than 1 percent. The Nasdaq Composite slid 1.1 percent.

The U.S. economy added just 20,000 jobs in last month, marking the weakest month of jobs creation since September 2017. Economists polled by Dow Jones expected a gain of 180,000.

Treasury yields fell along with futures. The benchmark 10-year rate dipped to 2.619 percent while the 2-year yield traded at 2.45 percent.

Equities were on track to post rare weekly losses. The major indexes were all down more than 1.9 percent entering Friday’s session. The Nasdaq was on pace to snap a 10-week winning streak, while the Dow was set to notch its second weekly decline of the year.

The weekly decline comes amid growing fears that most of the positive news on the U.S.-China trade front may be baked in. At this point, most investors expect the two countries to strike a trade deal later this month. There are also worries that a deal may not be sure thing.

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