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.