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Stock Markets

U.S. stock indices are down 1.3-1.8%

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U.S. stock indices

U.S. stock indices — what’s going on in the stock market? Wall Street closed lower on the background of the statistical data that showed that the US economy is resilient despite the Federal Reserve tightening its monetary policy. This raises fears that the U.S. Central Bank will continue to raise interest rates to fight inflation, writes CNBC.

American stock indexes — key factors

The number of Americans who applied for unemployment benefits for the first time last week fell by 1,000 to 194,000, according to a report from the U.S. Labor Department. According to revised data, a week earlier, the figure was 195,000, not 196,000, as previously reported. Analysts surveyed by Bloomberg, on average, predicted an increase in the number of applications to 200 thousand.

Meanwhile, PPI producer prices in the US rose 0.7% month-on-month in January, the highest in seven months. In annual terms, the growth was 6%. Analysts polled by Trading Economics forecast on average a 0.4% growth for the former index and a 5.4% growth for the latter.

The number of homes under construction in the U.S. in January fell 4.5 percent from the previous month to 1.309 million at an annualized rate, according to the nation’s Commerce Department. According to revised data, the number of new buildings in December was 1.371 million, not 1.382 million as previously announced. Experts had forecast a decline to 1.36 million, according to Trading Economics.

Philadelphia’s manufacturing activity index fell to minus 24.3 points in February from minus 8.9 points a month earlier. The February reading was the lowest since May 2020. Experts had expected the indicator, which is calculated by the Philadelphia Fed, to rise to minus 7.4 points. A negative value of the index indicates a weakening of activity in the region’s manufacturing sector, while a positive value indicates a strengthening.

Meanwhile, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland (FRB) President Loretta Mester said she thought it was premature to conclude that U.S. inflation was on a steady path toward the U.S. Central Bank’s 2% target. Although inflation has slowed somewhat since last summer, it is still too high, Mester said during an event at the University of South Florida on Thursday. Last week’s January Consumer Price Report showed that core inflation is slowing a little, she said.

St. Louis Fed Chairman James Ballard said during a speech in Tennessee that he called for a sharper rate hike at the last Fed meeting and did not rule out a sweeping move further down the road.

Earlier we reported that all the US stock markets finished trades in different directions.

Stock Markets

Wall Street ends up amid record low volatility ahead of eventful week

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U.S. stocks closed higher on Thursday regaining some of their momentum thanks to a rebound by technology stocks, while volatility dropped to record lows ahead of an eventful economic and policy calendar next week.

The CBOE Volatility index, also known as Wall Street’s fear gauge, dropped to a fresh post-pandemic record low.

“What you are really seeing in the vol market is an unwillingness to engage,” said David Bianco, Americas chief investment officer for asset manager DWS Group. “You’ve just got paralysis in investors.”

Investors were sitting on the sidelines ahead of inflation data and a Federal Reserve policy meeting next week.

Traders have priced in a 73% chance of the U.S. central bank holding interest rates at the current 5%-5.25% range during its monetary policy meeting on June 13-14, according to CMEGroup’s Fedwatch tool. However, they see a 50% chance of a rate hike in July.

The two-year Treasury yield, which tends to move in step with short-term rate expectations, slipped from one-week highs to 4.51% after a sharp jump in weekly jobless claims signaled a softening labor market.

The U.S. Labor Department is due to release inflation data on June 13, the first day of the Fed meeting. The numbers are expected to show consumer prices cooled slightly in May but core prices remained sticky.

Meanwhile, a rebound by technology and megacap stocks helped major indexes regain their footing amid thin volumes.

Heavyweight Inc (NASDAQ:AMZN) gained 2.49% as Wells Fargo (NYSE:WFC) initiated coverage on the company with an “overweight” rating, while Nvidia (NASDAQ:NVDA) Corp, Apple Inc (NASDAQ:AAPL) and Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) Inc rose between 1.55% and 4.58%.

GameStop Corp (NYSE:GME) tanked 17.89% as billionaire investor Ryan Cohen took over as executive chairman after the video-game retailer ousted its CEO and posted a bigger-than-expected quarterly loss.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 168.59 points, or 0.5%, to 33,833.61, the S&P 500 gained 26.41 points, or 0.62%, to 4,293.93 and the Nasdaq Composite added 133.63 points, or 1.02%, to 13,238.52.

Among the 11 major S&P sectors, consumer discretionary led the charge, while real estate and energy indexes slipped, with the latter being hit by a drop in oil prices.

Adobe (NASDAQ:ADBE) jumped 4.95% after Piper Sandler raised its prices target on the stock to $500. The Photoshop software maker said it was offering its AI tool “Firefly” to large businesses.

Lucid Group tumbled 1.88% after the U.S. luxury electric-vehicle maker’s head of China operations, Zhu Jiang, said the company was preparing to enter the world’s largest auto market.

Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by a 1.16-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 1.02-to-1 ratio favored advancers.

The S&P 500 posted 12 new 52-week highs and two new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 71 new highs and 43 new lows.

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Stock Markets

Amazon, Target modify deliveries in areas with poor air quality

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on said on Thursday that it was cutting delivery routes short for drivers in places affected by poor air quality, while Target also said its contactless order pickup service may not operate in the most affected areas.

Hundreds of forest fires are burning across much of Canada as the country sees its worst-ever start to the wildfire season, which has pushed smoke into the eastern United States, covering several cities with a thick, yellow haze. On Wednesday, New York City’s air quality was considered the worst in the world.

A spokesman for Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN), the nation’s most valuable retailer by market capitalization, said it was cutting routes short where air quality is hazardous, and providing N-95 masks to delivery workers. Drivers were also encouraged to return to delivery stations if they felt ill.

Target Corp (NYSE:TGT) said its contactless order pick-up service called “Drive Up” may be turned off at locations with poor air quality. Customers can check their Target mobile application to confirm if the services were available at their local store, the company said.

Separately, Home Depot Inc (NYSE:HD) on Thursday said it was shipping supplies of air filters, respirator masks, box fans and air scrubbers to meet increased demand in areas dealing with poor air quality.

Schools across the region canceled outdoor activities and companies told employees to work from home, while health officials in more than a dozen states have urged millions of residents to stay indoors.

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Stock Markets

Instagram, YouTube, TikTok, Twitter target of EU crypto advertising complaint

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Meta Platforms’ Instagram, Alphabet’s YouTube, TikTok and Twitter could face regulatory action after European consumer group BEUC complained to the European Commission and consumer authorities that the online platforms allegedly facilitate the misleading promotion of crypto assets.

U.S. regulators suing crypto platforms Coinbase and Binance, along with last year’s collapse of FTX, have sparked concerns over consumer protection related to crypto assets such as bitcoin and ether.

The European Union last month adopted the world’s first comprehensive set of rules for cryptoasset regulation (MiCa).

BEUC in its complaint filed on Thursday said the proliferation of misleading advertisements of crypto assets on the social media platforms is an unfair commercial practice as it exposes consumers to serious harm such as the loss of significant amounts of money. 

It said this was happening through advertising and influencers.

It urged the Consumer Protection Cooperation Network to require the online platforms to adopt stricter advertising policies on crypto and take measures to prevent influencers from misleading consumers.

The Network should subsequently inform the European Commission about the effectiveness of these measures, BEUC said in its joint complaint with nine of its members.

The group called on European consumer authorities to cooperate with European Supervisory Authorities for financial services to ensure the platforms adapt their advertising policies to prevent the misleading promotion of crypto.

“Crypto will be regulated soon with the new Market in Crypto Assets Regulation but this legislation does not apply to the social media companies benefiting from the advertising of crypto at the expense of consumers,” BEUC Director General Monique Goyens said in a statement.

“This is why we are turning to the authorities in charge of protecting consumers to ensure Instagram, YouTube, TikTok and Twitter fulfil their duty to protect consumers against crypto scams and false promises,” she said.

Consumer groups in Denmark, France, Greece, Italy, Lithuania, Portugal, Slovakia and Spain also signed up to the complaint. 

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