U.S. stock indices today declined 0.8-1%
The U.S. stock indices today, the Dow Jones Industrial Average and Standard & Poor’s 500, finished “in the red” for the third consecutive session amid mixed statistics and corporate reports. Meanwhile, the fall of S&P 500 on Thursday was the biggest since December 15, reports MarketWatch.
U.S. stock market indices – what’s going on?
Over the past few weeks, most analysts have changed their forecasts for the first and second quarter earnings changes for companies in the S&P 500 from growth to decline. The index is now expected to decline by an average of 0.6% in January-March and 0.7% in April-June, according to a FactSet survey.
The number of U.S. construction starts in December fell 1.4% from the previous month to an annualized rate of 1.382 million, the Commerce Department said Thursday. According to revised data, the number of new buildings in November was 1.401 million, not 1.427 million as previously announced. Experts had predicted a drop to 1.359 million from the previously announced November level, according to Trading Economics.
The number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits for the first time last week fell by 15,000 to 190,000, the Labor Department said. This is the lowest figure since September. Analysts on average had expected an increase to 214,000.
Philadelphia’s manufacturing activity index rose to 4.9 points in January, up from minus 0.9 points a month earlier. Experts expected the indicator, calculated by the Philadelphia Fed, to rise to minus 3.5 points. The negative value of the index indicates a weakening of activity in the region’s manufacturing sector, while a positive one indicates a strengthening.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 252.4 points (0.76%) to 3,344.56 on Thursday. Leading the declines among index components were shares of Home Depot Inc (NYSE:HD). down 4%, 3M Co (NYSE:MMM). – by 3.5% and American Express Co (NYSE:AXP). – by 2.4%.
The Standard & Poor’s 500 fell 30.01 points (0.76%) to 3,898.85 points on the day.
The Nasdaq Composite index shed 104.74 points (0.96%) to end the session at 10852.27 points.
Earlier, we reported that Netflix stock soared 7% after the release of a strong report.
Fading risks, fear of missing out may fuel US stocks after near 20% rally
Worries that have dogged U.S. stocks for months are fading, pushing some Wall Street firms to raise their outlooks for equities and beckoning investors who have remained on the sidelines.
Signs of strength in the economy, relief over a deal to raise the U.S. debt ceiling and an interest rate hiking cycle that may be nearing its end have heartened investors and driven the benchmark S&P 500 up nearly 20% from its October low – one definition of a bull market.
Further gains may hinge on whether investors who cut stock allocations to the bone over the last year return to the market. Cash on the sidelines is plentiful: U.S. money market fund assets hit a new record of $5.8 trillion last month, while cash levels among global fund managers remain high relative to history, according to the latest survey from BofA Global Research.
And while computer-driven strategies have been piling into the market for months, according to Deutsche Bank (ETR:DBKGn), positioning among discretionary investors — a cohort that includes everyone from active mutual funds to retail investors — is lighter than it has been 74% of the time since 2010, the bank’s data showed.
“There certainly seems to be a bit of a more optimistic ring to the market,” said Chuck Carlson, chief executive officer at Horizon Investment Services. “Further strength might beget further strength because of the FOMO factor,” he added, using the popular acronym for “fear of missing out.”
A stronger-than-expected U.S. economy is one reason for investor optimism, after many spent months girding for a widely expected recession.
Data on Friday showed U.S. job growth accelerated in May, even as the unemployment rate rose to a seven-month high – bolstering the case for those betting the Fed can contain inflation without badly damaging growth.
“Inflation has clearly subsided, and yet labor market strength has remained intact,” wrote BMO Capital Markets chief investment strategist Brian Belski in a recent note.
While a severe recession was his biggest worry at the start of the year, now “the anticipated recipe for disaster is simply not present.” BMO raised its year-end S&P 500 price target to 4,550 from 4,300. The index, which is up 11% year-to-date, closed at 4,267.52 on Wednesday. It is up 19.3% since Oct 12.
Other firms that have issued rosy targets in recent days include Evercore ISI, which now sees the S&P 500 at 4,450 at year end, up from its prior view of 4,150, and Stifel, which anticipates the index will reach 4,400 by the third quarter. BofA late last month raised its year-end target for the index to 4,300 from 4,000.
Another key risk dissipated last week when Congress passed a bill to suspend the debt ceiling, averting a potentially catastrophic U.S. default. “Moving past the debt ceiling and at least having some economic data that looks ok is actually enough to get some people interested,” said Keith Lerner, co-chief investment officer at Truist Advisory Services. Lerner on Monday shifted his expected S&P 500 range for this year up to 3,800-4,500, from 3,400-4,300 previously, citing improving earnings trends among other factors. At the same time, investors have been cheered by signals that the Fed is unlikely to deliver many more rate increases that shook markets over the last year. Bets in futures markets showed investors projecting the Fed would leave rates unchanged at its June 13-14 monetary policy meeting and raise them only once more this year.
Of course, plenty of skeptics remain. John Lynch, chief investment officer for Comerica (NYSE:CMA) Wealth Management, said the S&P 500 could retest its October lows with “elevated interest rates and tighter credit standards weighing on economic activity for the remainder of the year.” Another worrisome signal is the fact that the S&P 500’s gain this year has been spurred by just a handful of mega cap stocks like Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) and Nvidia (NASDAQ:NVDA), which have been fueled in part by excitement over advances in artificial intelligence, while large areas of the market have languished. For Hans Olsen, chief investment officer at Fiduciary Trust Co, that’s an ominous sign. Olsen believes signals such as the inverted yield curve show recession risks remain “pretty high” and his firm is maintaining higher than typical cash levels. “We have one powerful rally inside a bear market that has yet to be fully resolved,” he said.
Tesla considering building 4.5 billion euro car factory in Spain
U.S. electric car manufacturer Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) is in talks with the leaders of the regional government of Valencia in Spain to build a car factory, newspaper Cinco Dias reported on Thursday, citing unidentified sources close to the discussions.
The company’s total investment in the factory could surpass 4.5 billion euros ($4.83 billion), the newspaper said.
Tesla did not immediately respond to a request for comment, while Spain’s central government declined to comment. Reuters could not immediately reach the Valencian regional government.
German car maker Volkswagen (ETR:VOWG_p) has already said it plans to invest as much as 3 billion euros in a battery factory in the town of Sagunto in the Valencia area.
Spain is Europe’s second-largest car producer, and is using European Union COVID pandemic recovery funds to attract carmakers to invest in the manufacture of both batteries and electric vehicles. The EU plans to phase out thermal cars.
Goldman Sachs to start trading Japan power futures
Goldman Sachs Group (NYSE:GS) plans to establish a desk in Tokyo to start trading Japanese power derivatives, two people familiar with the matter told Reuters on Wednesday.
More foreign energy companies and banks are seeking access to the Japanese power market, which was launched in 2016 in the wake of the Fukushima nuclear disaster in 2011, spurring trade activity by generators, consumers, and distributors.
An interest in trading rose amid growing liquidity in Japan’s power futures markets as the volatility of electricity prices surged following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The power crisis heightened the need for hedging among power suppliers and buyers, according to the sources.
Goldman Sachs has hired some traders in Tokyo, the sources said, requesting anonymity as the matter is still confidential.
A spokesperson for Goldman Sachs declined to comment.
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