U.S. stocks were down sharply heading into the final hour of trading, with major benchmarks on track for weekly losses, ending a four week win streak, as investors digested more hawkish commentary out of the Federal Reserve and more than $2 trillion equity-linked options expired.
How are stocks trading?
The Dow Jones Industrial Average
was down 281 points, or 0.8%, at almost 33,718.
The S&P 500
dropped 53 points, or 1.3%, to 4,230.
The Nasdaq Composite
slid almost 251 points, or 1.9%, to 12,714.
For the week, the Dow is on track to slip 0.1%, while the S&P 500 is heading for a 1.2% decline and the Nasdaq is on pace to drop 2.6%, according to FactSet data, at last check.
What’s driving markets?
U.S. stocks are down Friday afternoon as investors assess a jump in Treasury yields and the prospect of the Federal Reserve potentially sticking with its aggressive monetary policy tightening as it battles high inflation.
After the U.S. stock market’s “tremendous” rally recently and with the “central bank tightening that’s in the pipeline,” it’s an opportune time to trim back on equities, according to Keith Lerner, co-chief investment officer of Truist Advisory Services.
“Valuations are pretty elevated after the rebound,” Lerner said in a phone interview Friday. A trading range for the S&P 500 of 4,200 to 4,300 is “less favorable” from a “risk-reward” perspective at this time, he said, while pointing to Friday’s jump in Treasury yields as hurting growth stocks in particular.
The S&P 500’s consumer-discretionary
sectors are among the hardest hit sectors in Friday afternoon trading, FactSet data show, at last check. Beyond growth stocks, the financials sector
was also declining, which Lerner attributed to concerns that Fed interest rate hikes to tame high inflation will lead to “a slower economy.”
The yield on the 10-year Treasury note
jumped 10.8 basis points Friday to 2.987%, the highest since July 20 based on 3 p.m. Eastern time levels, according to Dow Jones Market Data. “That’s a strong move,” Lerner said, adding that 2-year Treasury yields
were also rising amid expectations for further rate hikes.
Meanwhile, inflation in Europe, including in Germany, is a reminder that “global central banks’ work is not done yet,” according to Lerner. He cited the sharp rise in Germany’s producer prices, reported Friday, as influencing U.S. investors’ concerns over high inflation and rising rates.
In the U.S., investors are assessing the odds of the Fed potentially raising its benchmark rate by 75 basis points at its September meeting.
St. Louis Fed President James Bullard told The Wall Street Journal on Thursday that he would “lean toward” a 75 basis point hike in September. Speaking Friday morning, Richmond Fed President Tom Barkin said the Fed “will do what it takes” to drive inflation back toward its 2% target, Bloomberg reported, while Reuters reported Barkin saying the Fed’s efforts needn’t be “calamitous.”
Interest-rate-sensitive tech stocks have been bruised this week, with the Nasdaq on track for a 2.7% weekly drop, FactSet data show, at last check. The S&P 500 was down 1.3% so far this week, while the blue-chip gauge Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 0.3%.
That would mark a pause from the stock market’s recent rally. Last week the S&P 500 and tech-heavy Nasdaq each booked their longest weekly win streaks since November 2021, after rising for a fourth straight week.
Friday was devoid of major U.S. economic data, leaving investors to digest comments from Fed officials while dealing with the monthly expiration of more than $2 trillion worth of stock and index options. The expiration of options can exaggerate market moves, said Lerner.
Next week, investors will be shifting their focus toward what Fed Chairman Jerome Powell will say during the Fed’s annual economic symposium in Jackson Hole, Wyo.
“I think everybody is just waiting for Jackson Hole, so I think there will be a lot of speculation over what Powell is going to say for the next five days,” said Brad Conger, deputy chief investment officer at Pennsylvania-based Hirtle Callaghan & Co., which oversees about $20 billion in assets, mostly on behalf of university endowments.
Which companies are in focus?
Bed, Bath & Beyond Inc.
shares tumbled around 44% after investor Ryan Cohen has confirmed that he sold his entire stake in the retailer, and earned a profit of more than $58 million.
Shares of Deere & Co.
edged up 0.1% after the tractor maker reported fiscal third-quarter profit that missed expectations, owing to higher costs and production inefficiencies, but its revenue beat forecasts.
Shares of Weber Inc.
dropped 9.6% after surging above $10 a share a day earlier for the first time since June.
How are other assets trading?
The U.S. dollar index
a gauge of the dollar’s strength against a basket of rivals, was up 0.5%.
Oil futures ended slightly higher Friday, with West Texas Intermediate crude
for September delivery edging up 0.3% to settle at $90.77 a barrel. For the week, crude’s front-month prices lost 1.4%.
Gold prices closed lower Friday, with December futures for the precious metal
declining 0.5% to settle at $1,762.90 an ounce. That brought gold’s weekly loss to 2.9%, according to Dow Jones Market Data.
was down 8.7% at $21,383.
In Asia, Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index
closed down less than 0.1% Friday, gaining 1.3% for the week. China’s Shanghai Composite Index
fell 0.6% Friday, bringing its weekly loss to 0.6%. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index
rose less than 0.1% Friday, booking a 2% loss for the week.
—Barbara Kollmeyer contributed to this report.