S&P 500, Nasdaq fall Thursday, notch weekly losses as investors assess earnings, inflation
The S&P 500 fell Thursday, capping a losing week as investors digested mixed earnings results from major banks and rising inflation.
The broad-market index fell 1.21% to 4,392.59, while the Nasdaq Composite lost 2.14% to 13,351.08. Meanwhile, the Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 113 points, or 0.33%, to 34,450.84.
The S&P 500 is down 2.13% for the four-day holiday week. The Nasdaq Composite is off 2.63% and the Dow is down 0.78% for the week. Trading is closed at the NYSE on Friday.
Those moves came as inflation took center stage in investors’ minds this week as Treasury yields climbed higher, and two back-to-back U.S. inflation reports showed record prices. On Thursday, the benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury yield rose back to multiyear highs, climbing 13 basis points to top 2.8%.
“What’s happening with yields directly impacts stocks at this stage of the game, because it’s just one more of so many other negative data points, or bearish data points, that investors have to deal with,” said Adam Sarhan, founder and CEO at 50 Park Investments.
On Tuesday, March’s consumer price index reading showed an 8.5% increase from a year ago, the fastest annual gain since December 1981 — and higher than the Dow Jones estimate for 8.4%.
Supplier prices were also hotter than expected for March, gaining 11.2% from a year ago and marking the biggest gain on record going back to 2010.
Inflation fears drove tech shares lower on Thursday, as investors dropped growth stocks in favor of more stable assets. Microsoft dropped 2.7%, Apple tumbled 3%, and Google slipped 2.4%. Chip stocks also slumped with Nvidia dropping 4.3% and Advanced Micro Devices falling 4.8%.
Rising prices spurred further speculation on how the central bank might respond. Federal Reserve board member Christopher Waller said on CNBC’s “Closing Bell” Wednesday that he expects interest rates to rise considerably over the next few months.
“I think the data has come in exactly to support that step of policy action if the committee chooses to do so, and gives us the basis for doing it,” he said. “I prefer a front-loading approach, so a 50-basis-point hike in May would be consistent with that, and possibly more in June and July.”
For now, investors are weighing the hot inflation data, the Fed’s next steps and first-quarter earnings as they decide how to proceed.
Retail sales figures for March slightly missed expectations with a 0.5% gain, driven by sales at gas stations, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. That’s compared to the 0.6% consensus estimate from Dow Jones.
Jobless claims jumped 185,000 for the week ending April 9, according to data from the Labor Department.
Elsewhere in the market, Elon Musk offered to buy the social media company for $54.20 a share. Musk said this was his best and final offer for Twitter, which he said needs to be transformed privately in order to thrive. Shares for Twitter initially popped on the news, but has since dipped 1.9%. At the same time, Tesla shares dipped more than 3%.
Major banks post mixed results
On Thursday, major banks including Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and Wells Fargo posted their first-quarter earnings. Investors are watching how the banks navigated surging inflation and a recession warning from the bond market in the form of a flattening yield curve, as earnings season goes into full swing next week.
“We’re still very early in earnings season, so we still have a lot more numbers to digest, but for now, the market is doing its best to stabilize after a great big sell off,” Sarhan said.
Goldman Sachs‘ stock price dipped 0.5%, after gaining earlier on a first-quarter earnings beat. The bank reported per-share earnings of $10.76 on $12.93 billion in revenue. Analysts polled by Refinitiv expected per-share earnings of $8.89 on revenue of $11.83 billion.
Shares of Morgan Stanley popped about 1% after the bank posted better-than-expected earnings. The firm earned $2.02 per share on revenue of $14.8 billion. Analysts expected $1.68 in per-share earnings and revenue of $14.2 billion, according to Refinitiv. The bank generated stronger revenues from equity and fixed-income trading than expected.
Citigroup‘s shares jumped 1% after the company topped earnings estimates. The firm reported $2.02 per diluted share, versus the Refinitiv estimate of $1.55 a share. It also gained $19.19 billion, compared to the Refinitiv estimate of $18.15 billion.
On the other hand, shares for Wells Fargo dropped more than 5% Thursday after the bank posted first-quarter revenue that fell short of analyst estimates and said credit losses were likely to increase.
U.S. Bancorp and Ally Financial also reported earnings Thursday.
“The bar is low for bank earnings with expectations for Q1 earnings declining about 1%,” said Stephanie Lang, chief investment officer at Homrich Berg. “Beating this low bar could move shares higher with the bright spot being net interest income as interest rates have moved higher.”