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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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Stocks turn lower, heads for 4-day slide after ECB cuts growth forecast

THURSDAY – Stocks fell on Thursday after the European Central Bank slashed its economic growth forecast for 2019 and announced a new round of stimulus to help banks in the region, stoking worries over the global economy.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average traded 246 points lower as shares of 3M and United Technologies lagged. The S&P 500 fell 0.7 percent, led by declines in the industrials and materials sectors. The Nasdaq Composite dropped 0.8 percent. The indexes were headed for their fourth consecutive loss.

Both the Nasdaq and S&P 500 also broke below their 200-day moving averages, levels that are closely watched by traders.

ECB President Mario Draghi said the central bank cut its growth estimate to 1.1 percent, down from a 1.7 percent expansion forecast released in December.

Thursday’s moves come after the major indexes posted their third straight day of losses, with investors eager to know details from trade negotiations between the U.S. and China.

Stocks are still up sharply for the year despite Thursday’s losses. The S&P 500 and Nasdaq have both risen more than 10 percent while the Dow is up more than 9 percent.

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Stock turn positive as ECB announces new funding

THURSDAY – U.S. stock index futures erased earlier losses on Thursday after the European Central Bank announced a new round of stimulus to help banks in the region.

At 8:10 a.m. ET, Dow Jones Industrial Average futures were up 23 points after slipping nearly 100 points. S&P 500 and Nasdaq 100 futures were also up slightly.

The ECB said its new targeted longer-term refinancing operations (TLTRO-III) stimulus program will start in September and run through March 2021. TLTROs are loans provided by the ECB to European banks at a low rate, making it easier for them to lend money to consumers, which in turn can help stimulate the economy. This is the third stimulus injection from the ECB since 2014.

Wall Street ended Wednesday’s session lower, posting its third consecutive decline. Investors are eager to know details from trade negotiations between the U.S. and China.

As trade talks between the world’s largest economies continue, there’s fresh tensions regarding Huawei. The Chinese firm filled a lawsuit against the U.S. government, claiming the law which bans it from selling equipment to government agencies is unconstitutional.

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Stocks Lower Wednesday While Waiting For Trade News

WEDNESDAY – Stocks fell on Wednesday as investors sought further indications that a trade deal between China and the U.S. could be reached in the near future.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average pulled back 75 points as Exxon Mobile and Walgreens Boots Alliance lagged. The S&P 500 dipped 0.4 percent, led by declines in energy and health care. The Nasdaq Composite declined 0.5 percent.

Stocks are off to a hot start this year, with the S&P 500 rising more than 11 percent through Tuesday’s close. Increasing expectations that a trade deal will get done have partly helped equities surge in 2019.

However, there is growing fear that an agreement may be fully priced in, possibly limiting any more gains from positive trade news.

Recently, the S&P 500 has had trouble making a significant break above 2,800, a key level being watched by investors. The broad index closed above that level on Friday, but fell back below it this week.

Meanwhile, the U.S. trade deficit increased to a 10-year high of $59.8 billion despite the administration’s efforts to reduce the number. Economists surveyed by Refinitiv expected the number to increase to $57.3 billion.

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Stocks Start Week Higher On Trade Deal Hopes

MONDAY – U.S. stock index futures rose on Monday on a report that U.S. and China are getting close to a trade deal.

This morning, the Dow Jones Industrial Average futures were up 65 points, indicating a gain of more than 70 points at the open. Futures on the S&P 500 and Nasdaq 100 were also slightly higher.

The Wall Street Journal reported that China had proposed to bring down duties on certain American goods in an attempt to strike a deal with the U.S. The same report suggested both countries are at the final stage of their negotiations, which could see the country’s leaders meeting at a special summit to sign a trade deal soon.

The Trump administration touted last week significant progress being made in U.S. negotiations with China. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told CNBC on Thursday the two sides were getting closer.

The back-and-forth on trade between the two countries has sent ripples through financial markets since last year, with investors fretting how tighter trade conditions could impact corporate profits.

On the economic front, there will be construction spending figures out at 10 a.m. ET.

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Stocks To Jump Friday

U.S. stock index futures pointed to a strong open on Friday, as Wall Street looked to build on its best start to a year in nearly 30 years.

At around 8:10 a.m. ET, Dow Jones Industrial Average futures indicated a gain of more than 170 points at the open. Futures on the S&P 500 and Nasdaq 100 were also up.

The major indexes posted solid monthly gains in February, pushing the S&P 500 to its best start to a year since 1991. The S&P 500 is up more than 11 percent for 2019, along with the Dow. The Nasdaq, meanwhile, is up 13.5 percent.

Decreasing trade tensions between China and the U.S., along with a declining fears of tighter monetary policy from the Federal Reserve, helped propel stocks higher.

Market participants are likely to closely monitor a fresh batch of economic data on Friday. Personal income, consumer spending and core PCE figures for December and January will be released at around 8:30 a.m. ET.

Manufacturing PMI, ISM manufacturing, and consumer sentiment data are all expected to follow later in the session.

 

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Stocks Flat Even After Good Economic News

THURSDAY – Stocks were little changed at Thursday’s open as stronger-than-expected economic data were offset by talks between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un falling through.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell just 11 points while the S&P 500 dipped around 0.1 percent. The Nasdaq Composite fell 0.2 percent.

The U.S. economy grew at an annualized rate of 2.6 percent in the fourth quarter 2018, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA). Economists polled by Dow Jones expected the economy to grow at a pace of 2.2 percent.

Investors were closely watching the summit in Vietnam as it could potentially impact trade negotiations between China and the U.S.

On Wednesday, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer testified in front of House members that China needed to do more than just buy more U.S. goods for the two countries to strike a permanent trade deal. But Lighthizer said after the testimony, according to The Wall Street Journal, that formal steps would be taken to abandon plans of raising tariffs on Chinese goods.

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