Category Archives: Economy

Stocks Tumble Again

MONDAY – U.S. stocks dropped on Monday morning, putting the S&P 500 on track to fall back into bear market territory and possibly to a new low for 2022. A jump in short-term rates drove the negative sentiment as investors still reeling from a hotter-than-expected inflation report on Friday braced for the Federal Reserve to raise rates later in the week.

The short-term 2-year Treasury yield rose by 17 basis points to more than 3.22% Monday, reaching its highest level since 2007 as investors bet the Fed may have to get even more aggressive to squash inflation. At one point in the session, the 2-year rate traded above its 10-year counterpart for the first time since April, a so-called yield curve inversion seen as an indicator of a recession.

The major averages last week posted their biggest weekly declines since late January as investors grew increasingly concerned rising inflation will tip the economy into a recession. The Dow and S&P 500 fell 4.6% and 5.1%, respectively, while the Nasdaq Composite lost 5.6%. A chunk of those losses came Friday, when hotter-than-expected U.S. inflation data spooked investors. The Dow dropped 880 points, or 2.7%. The S&P 500 and Nasdaq lost 2.9% and 3.5%, respectively.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Friday that the U.S. consumer price index rose last month by 8.6% from a year ago, its fastest increase since December 1981. That gain topped economists’ expectations. The so-called core CPI, which strips out food and energy prices, also came in above estimates at 6%.

On top of that, the preliminary June reading for the University of Michigan’s consumer sentiment index registered at a record low of 50.2.

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Stocks Flat To Start Earnings Season

WEDNESDAY – Stocks were flat on Wednesday as traders weighed more surging inflation numbers and lackluster results from JPMorgan Chase to kick off the first quarter earnings reporting season.

First quarter earnings reporting season kicked off Wednesday and analysts have tempered their expectations amid rising commodity costs, the war in Ukraine and the lingering pandemic. Earnings for S&P 500 companies are expected to increase just 4.5% in the period, the lowest growth since the fourth quarter of the pandemic-plagued 2020, according to FactSet.

On Wednesday a report showed producer prices, wholesale costs that could eventually lead to higher retail prices, jumped a record 11.2% in March on an annual basis. The monthly gain of 1.4% topped the 1.1% estimate from economists polled by Dow Jones.

The 10-year Treasury yield rose slightly to 2.74% following the producer prices report. The yield touched a three-year high of 2.82% this week before pulling back.

The producer prices report followed the consumer prices gauge released on Tuesday which showed an 8.5% surge in March, the Labor Department said on Tuesday. The report fueled further concerns of tighter monetary policy from the Federal Reserve, even as core CPI excluding food and energy costs rose 0.3%, slightly below expectations. Some on Wall Street saw this as a sign that inflation may be nearing a peak.

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Stocks Rise Slightly After Fed Selloff

THURSDAY – Stocks rose slightly Thursday as the market tried to recover from back-to-back losing sessions, while traders digested the Federal Reserve’s plans to tighten monetary policy.

The Fed on Wednesday released the minutes from its March meeting, which showed that officials planed to reduce their trillions in bond holdings with a consensus amount around $95 billion. Meanwhile, policymakers indicated that one or more 50 basis-point interest rate hikes could be warranted to battle surging inflation.

Officials “generally agreed” that a maximum of $60 billion in Treasuries and $35 billion in mortgage-backed securities would be allowed to roll off, phased in over three months and likely starting in May.

The news sent the blue-chip Dow down more than 100 points Wednesday, while the S&P 500 slid 1%. The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite dropped another 2.2%, bringing its week-to-date losses to 2.6%. Those losses came after comments from Fed Governor Lael Brainard pushed stock prices lower on Tuesday.

Investors await the weekly jobless claims data Thursday morning, which is expected to show a total of 200,000 claims filed.

Crude prices ticked higher after falling in the previous session. U.S. oil gained 0.7% to $96.94 per barrel, while international Brent advanced 0.9% to $101.95.

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Stock Start Week Flat – Twitter Rockets

MONDAY – U.S. stocks were mostly flat Monday, as traders monitor the bond market’s warning signals about the economy.

Twitter ($TWTR) shares surged more than 25% after SEC filings revealed Elon Musk purchased a more than 9% passive stake in the social media company. It comes less than a week after Musk polled his followers, questioning whether the social media giant follows free speech principles. Based on Twitter’s Friday closing price, the stake is worth $2.89 billion.

An often-cited recession signal was triggered Thursday evening when the the 2-year and 10-year Treasury yields inverted for the first time since 2019. The 5-year note yield is also trading above its 30-year counterpart.

Investors are also monitoring the latest developments in Ukraine. German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said Sunday that Western nations will impost additional sanctions on Russia in the coming days.

Seasonally, April is generally one of the best months for stocks, edging higher in the last 20 years by 2.41% on average, MKM Partners’ JC O’Hara wrote in a note. Within the 16 of the last 17 Aprils, the S&P has also inched higher.

Friday’s positive session came despite March’s employment report, which fell short of economists’ estimates. The U.S. economy added 431,000 jobs during the month, while estimates from Dow Jones called for 490,000.

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Stocks Start Week Flat

MONDAY – Stocks were steady Monday morning as a week filled with key economic reports kicked off, and investors continue to keep a close eye on the Fed’s planned interest rate hikes.

Parts of The Treasury yield curve inverted on Monday, raising some recession concerns. Earlier on Monday, the yield on the 5-year Treasury note rose to 2.6361%, while the 30-year yield was down less than 1 basis point to 2.6004%.

However, the main yield spread that traders watch — the spread between the 2-year and the 10-year rate — remained positive for now.

The Dow and S&P 500 rose on Friday to close out their second consecutive winning week. The Dow gained 153 points, or 0.4%. The S&P 500 advanced 0.5% and has more than erased its losses since Russia invaded Ukraine in late February. Meanwhile, the Nasdaq Composite dipped 0.2% but still finished the week in the green.

The moves came as investors continue to monitor developments in Russia’s war on Ukraine and expectations about the Fed’s plans to hike interest rates.

Investors are looking forward to the Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey, or JOLTS, this week. The JOLTS report is one set of employment data that the Federal Reserve is watching closely as it tightens monetary policy.

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Stocks Now Mixed, S&P Still Higher

HTML clipboard FRIDAY – The S&P 500 was steady Friday as the benchmark index looked to close out its second consecutive positive week.

Overall, stocks were mixed early.

For the week, the S&P 500 and Nasdaq are up more than 1% and 2%, respectively. The Dow is marginally higher.

The S&P 500 is now up more than 3% in March, more than erasing its losses since Russia invaded Ukraine late last month.

The rebound has come even as the war in Ukraine continues and the Federal Reserve is set to hike interest rates several more times this year – some analysts saying as many as seven increases.

On Monday, Fed Chair Jerome Powell vowed to be tough on inflation. The remarks came after the Federal Reserve raised interest rates for the first time since 2018 last week, with hikes coming at each of the six remaining policy meetings this year.

Powell noted rate hikes could go from quarter-percentage-point moves to more aggressive half-point increases.

The central bank chief’s comments led Wall Street to raise rate hike expectations, with firms from Goldman Sachs to Bank of America penciling in half-point hikes in future Fed meetings this year.

Meanwhile, investors looked to promising signs the economy can run strong even as the Fed tightens monetary policy to address inflation.

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Stocks Rise Slightly After Wednesday’s Losses

HTML clipboard THURSDAY – Stocks rose early Thursday morning as investors tried to recover from declines in Wednesday’s regular trading session.

Investors are continuing to monitor the war in Ukraine and weigh the Federal Reserve’s rate hikes amid persistent inflation.

NATO leaders met in Brussels Thursday to discuss increasing pressure on Russia, as Ukraine appears to be retaking ground in the war.

Last week, the Fed raised interest rates for the first time since 2018. Chair Jerome Powell on Monday vowed to be tough on inflation and opened the door for more aggressive half-percentage-point rate hikes.

The S&P 500 fell into correction territory late February, but is now 7.5% off its highs. The Dow is also 7% from its intraday record and the Nasdaq Composite is off by 14%.

Stocks have seesawed this week, alternating between up and down days. The Dow is about 1% lower on the week while the S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite are little changed.

All three major averages are on track to close the month at least 1% higher.

On the data front, initial jobless claims last week totaled 187,000.

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Stocks Extend Losses

U.S. stocks eased Wednesday as oil prices rose, renewing inflation fears.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped about 410 points, or 1.2%. The S&P 500 declined 1%. The Nasdaq Composite dipped 0.9%.

Traders digested the latest news on the Ukraine-Russia war. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy called for more pressure on Russia from other countries as the conflict appears to be entering a stalemate.

Oil prices ticked higher on the day, with international oil benchmark Brent crude advancing nearly 5% to top $120 per barrel. U.S. crude gained around 4% to more than $114 per barrel.

The 10-year U.S. Treasury yield surpassed 2.41% at its session high Wednesday, the highest since May 2019. The benchmark rate has surged since the beginning of the week, when Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell vowed to be aggressive on inflation. The Fed last week raised interest rates for the first time since 2018.

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Stocks Fall As Oil Prices Rise

WEDNESDAY – U.S. stocks dipped in early morning trading on Wednesday as oil prices gained, renewing inflation fears.

Traders digested the latest news on the Ukraine-Russia war. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy called for more pressure on Russia from other countries as the conflict appears to be entering a stalemate.

Oil prices ticked higher on the day, with U.S. crude gaining about 3% to more than $112 per barrel. Brent crude, the international benchmark, advanced about 3% to roughly $119.

The benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury yield topped 2.41% at its session high Wednesday, the highest since May 2019.

Wall Street is coming off a strong session Tuesday in which the Dow jumped more than 250 points and the S&P 500 climbed 1.1%.

Federal Reserve Chair Powell on Monday promised aggressive action on inflation. The comments came after the Fed last week raised interest rates for the first time since 2018 and forecast a plan to hike rates by a quarter-point at each of the remaining six meetings of 2022.

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Stocks Drop Again To Start Week

U.S. equities fell Monday morning, but traded off their lows, as U.S. oil prices pulled back from their highest level since 2008 amid the ongoing war between Russia and Ukraine.

West Texas Intermediate crude futures, the U.S. oil benchmark, traded 6.3% higher to $122.96 per barrel, earlier hitting $130 per barrel at one point before pulling back partially. The international benchmark, Brent crude, traded 6.24% higher to $125.51 per barrel after earlier spiking to $139.13 per barrel — its highest since July 2008.

Gas prices surged to their highest level since 2008, with the national average hitting $4.06 a gallon, according to AAA.

Despite the move away from risk, government bond yields rose, indicating less demand for safe-haven assets. The benchmark 10-year Treasury note was most recently at 1.76%, up nearly 4 basis points on the session as inflation worries pushed yields up.

Positive data from the U.S. Labor Department wasn’t enough for investors to shrug off concerns about the war between Russia and Ukraine. On Friday the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported the economy added 678,000 jobs in February. The monthly jobs gain topped economists’ expectations of 440,000 as gauged by Dow Jones. The unemployment rate slipped to 3.8%.

Last, the Dow and S&P 500 slid about 1.3%. The Dow notched its fourth losing week and the S&P 500 closed in correction territory on Friday, down more than 10% from its record close. The Nasdaq Composite lost roughly 2.8% and is also in a technical correction.

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