U.S. stock indicators fell Friday and for the week
U.S. stock indicators fell Friday on data about continued high inflation in the country.
U.S. stock indicators – current situation
The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 336.99 points (1.02%) to 32816.92. Microsoft Corp (NASDAQ:MSFT) were the leaders among the index components, dropping 2.2%.
The Standard & Poor’s 500 index value decreased by 42.28 points (1.05%) to 3,970.04 points over the day. By the end of the session, the Nasdaq Composite index was down 195.46 points (1.69%) to 11,394.94 points.
Because of last week, Dow Jones lost 3%, which was the biggest fall since last September. At that the index was negative for the fourth week in a row. The S&P 500 was down 2.7% from Monday to Friday, while the Nasdaq fell 3.3%.
U.S. personal spending rose 1.8 percent in January from the previous month, the nation’s Commerce Department said Friday. That’s the biggest rise since March 2021. Americans’ incomes rose 0.6%.
Analysts on average had predicted a 1.3 percent increase in the former and a 1 percent increase in the latter. Trading Economics reported.
The consumer price index (PCE) rose 0.6% in January relative to the previous month (the biggest gain in six months) and rose 5.4% year-over-year. In December, it was up 0.2% and 5.3%, respectively.
The PCE Core Index, which does not include the cost of food and energy, increased by 0.6% for the month (in December – 0.4%). In annual terms, the growth of the indicator, which is closely watched by the Federal Reserve System when assessing inflation risks, accelerated to 4.7% compared to 4.6% in December. At the same time, experts were expecting a less significant rise of 0.4% and 4.3%, respectively. Continued high inflation could prompt the Fed to raise interest rates to higher levels and not lower them for a longer time.
New home sales in the U.S. jumped 7.2 percent in January from the previous month to an annualized rate of 670,000, according to the Commerce Department. That’s the highest rate since March 2022. Analysts on average had expected an increase of just 0.7%, Trading Economics reported.
The U.S. consumer confidence index rose to 67 points in February, up from 64.9 points the previous month, according to final data from the University of Michigan, which calculates the index. The level is the highest in thirteen months. Experts did not expect a revision from the previously announced level of 66.4 points.
Inflation expectations for the medium term (next year) among the population rose to 4.1% in February from 3.9% a month earlier. Americans began to expect higher inflation for the first time since October 2022.
Earlier we reported that stock market Europe is trading on an uptrend.
GM embraces Tesla’s EV charging system, Wall Street cheers
General Motors will join Ford in adopting Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA)’s North American charging plug standard and give GM electric-vehicle buyers access to the Tesla Supercharger network under an agreement announced on Thursday.
GM’s move, which follows a similar decision by Ford to embrace Tesla’s charging plug standard, means three of the top EV sellers in the North American market have now agreed on a standard for charging hardware. The agreement was announced by GM CEO Mary Barra and Tesla chief Elon Musk in a Twitter Spaces event.
Investors applauded the deal, and the prospect of one charging hardware standard for the North American market. GM shares rose more than 4% after the bell and Tesla shares rose 4%.
The alliance among the three leading rival U.S. EV manufacturers has significant commercial and public policy implications.
The Biden administration made adoption of a rival “combined charging system” (CCS) standard a requirement in order for companies to be eligible for billions of dollars of federal subsidies for new charging stations on some 7,500 miles (12,070 km) of the nation’s busiest roadways. The alliance among Tesla, Ford and GM challenges the White House’s direction.
But Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg told CNBC in May after the Ford-Tesla deal that the industry will eventually converge on one system but that adapters would allow cross- usage.
Tesla, GM and Ford together account for about 70% of current U.S. EV sales. Industry executives see differing EV charging connectors as a barrier to wider consumer adoption of electric vehicles.
“I think this is just going to be a fundamentally great thing for the advancement of electric vehicles,” Musk said during the Twitter Spaces conversation with Barra.
“I think it all just got a little better,” Barra said.
GM could save $400 million from the agreement, Barra told CNBC in an interview Thursday.
From a consumer standpoint, the deals with the Detroit automakers look like a win for Tesla, which invested heavily to deploy its distinctive fast-charging stations across North America when most other automakers delegated charging to third parties.
Tesla Superchargers account for about 60% of the total fast chargers in the United States and Canada, according to U.S. Department of Energy data.
“This is pretty huge,” Consumer Reports senior policy analyst Chris Harto said. “I could see this being kind of a snowball effect of more and more automakers jumping on board and shifting towards the Tesla standard.”
For GM and Ford, the deals are a wager that the benefits of giving their customers access to Tesla’s extensive rapid charging network outweigh the risks that their customers will like what they see and choose Tesla for their next purchase.
The alliance among Tesla, GM and Ford puts pressure on other automakers and independent charging network operators that had adopted the CCS standard. A U.S. move to Tesla’s standard could be difficult for rival charging station manufacturers that are already setting up shop in the United States to make equipment that conforms to CCS standards.
“It does make it much more likely that NACS will win out in North America over CCS,” said David Whiston of Morningstar Research, referring to Tesla’s North American Charging Standard. Other charging providers could still use the CCS standard and rely on adapters to serve Tesla, Ford and GM vehicles, he added.
Shares of charging companies ChargePoint and EVgo were both down more than 4% in after-hours trading on Thursday.
GM said it will equip EVs with connectors based on the Tesla North American Charging Standard design starting in 2025. Next year, current owners of GM EVs will be able to use 12,000 Tesla fast chargers in North America, and adapters will be made available.
Musk said Tesla “is not going to do anything to prefer Teslas” as more rival brands access the Supercharger network. “It will be an even playing field … The most important thing is we advance the electric vehicle revolution.”
Ford CEO Jim Farley held a similar discussion with Musk on Twitter last month announcing the No. 2 U.S. automaker had reached agreement with Tesla to allow its electric vehicle owners to gain access to more than 12,000 Tesla Superchargers in North America in early 2024.
Binance.US to halt dollar deposits after SEC crackdown
Crypto exchange Binance.US said on Thursday it is stopping U.S. dollar deposits and users will soon not be able to withdraw dollars from the exchange, after U.S. financial regulators said they supported freezing Binance’s assets.
The purportedly independent U.S. affiliate of Binance, the world’s largest crypto exchange, said in a tweet late on Thursday that its banking partners are preparing to stop dollar withdrawal channels as early as June 13.
Binance.US said in the customer notice that it would no longer accept dollar deposits as part of plans to change to a “crypto-only exchange”. It did not give details of who its banking partners are.
On Monday, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) sued Binance, its founder and CEO Changpeng Zhao, and the operator of its U.S. exchange. The lawsuit marked a dramatic escalation of a crackdown on the industry by U.S. regulators, with the SEC suing major U.S. exchange Coinbase (NASDAQ:COIN) a day later.
The SEC alleged in 13 charges that Binance artificially inflated its trading volumes, diverted customer funds, failed to restrict U.S. customers from its platform and misled investors about its market surveillance controls.
The SEC on Tuesday asked a federal court to freeze Binance’s U.S. assets. Binance.US called the motion “unwarranted,” saying it had addressed SEC concerns over the safety of customer assets.
In its tweet on Thursday, Binance.US said crypto-denominated trading, deposits, withdrawals and “staking” – where users deposit cryptocurrencies for use in blockchain transactions – would remain fully operational.
“Halting of withdrawals is obviously going to create or spur quite a bit of worry and panic,” said Matthew Dibb, COO of Singapore crypto platform Stack Funds.
Crypto prices barely reacted to the news, with bitcoin last trading flat at $26,512. It was headed for a weekly loss of about 2.3%, after having dipped to an over two-month low of $25,350 earlier in the week as the SEC crackdown stoked nerves.
Chinese regulators try to assure skeptical foreign financiers
China is open for investment, the country’s top financial regulators told foreign financiers at a high-profile forum in Shanghai on Thursday, as concerns mount among foreign firms that they may no longer be welcome.
The world’s second-largest economy, keen for foreign investment to support its reopening after three years of COVID-19 restrictions, has played host in recent months to high-profile overseas CEOs including Goldman Sachs Group (NYSE:GS)’s David Solomon and Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA)’s Elon Musk.
But skepticism runs deep, as Sino-U.S. tensions intensify around flashpoints from Ukraine and the South China Sea to U.S. semiconductor export curbs and data security, while President Xi Jinping’s focus on national security brought a recent crackdown on foreign consultancies and due diligence firms.
“We warmly welcome foreign-funded institutions with sound operations and excellent qualifications to expand their business in China,” Li Yunze, head of China’s National Financial Regulatory Administration, said in his first public remarks since his appointment at the newly established agency.
“Opening up is China’s long-term national policy, and the door of China’s financial industry will only be opened wider and wider.”
He was speaking at the annual Lujiazui Forum, where senior representatives from HSBC , Credit Agricole (OTC:CRARY) , Merrill Lynch, Mizuho Financial , Schroders (LON:SDR) and Paypal are also scheduled to speak.
China’s top financial regulators have consistently stressed how open their markets are. Li told Citigroup (NYSE:C) CEO Jane Fraser exactly that in Beijing on Monday.
Yi Huiman, chairman of the China Securities Regulatory Commission, told forum participants that China will “adamantly” push for deregulation in terms of market access, institution qualification and products.
But staff at foreign chambers of commerce and trade associations in China complain of “promise fatigue” among their membership.
“There’s a charm offensive, but are they backing it up with any actual black-and-white meaningful policy changes?” said Noah Fraser, managing director of the Canada China Business Council.
Echoing the message of openness in Shanghai, Xi told local officials at an industrial park in China’s northern region of Inner Mongolia to cooperate with the outside world for “mutual benefits,” state media reported, telling them to implement a high level of openness.
Drawing attention to the region’s proximity to Russia and Mongolia, Xi instructed officials to “play a greater role in connecting the domestic and international links in the ‘dual circulation’ strategy,” an initiative to reduce China’s dependence on overseas markets and technologies in its long-term development.
First put forward by Xi in 2020, the “dual circulation” strategy would see China rely mainly on “internal circulation” – the domestic cycle of production, distribution, and consumption – for its development.
Internal circulation will be supported by “external circulation,” as in foreign financing and China’s interactions with the global economy.
“We will make all the efforts to give investors access to truthful and transparent listed companies (in China),” said Yi in Shanghai.
Yet, China’s industries must ultimately be self-sufficient in their scientific and technological capabilities, Yi said.
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