Stocks were falling sharply Thursday, a day after a big rally as markets digested the Federal Reserve’s monetary policy decisions.
“We shouldn’t have gone up 2% yesterday on the news,” said Tom Essaye, founder of Sevens Report Research.
Wednesday, The S&P 500 and Dow both rose more than 2%, posting their largest gains since 2020, while the Nasdaq gained just over 3%. The gains landed the three indexes above their closing levels last Thursday—the day before a steep selloff before the weekend, which set the stage for the relief rally on the Fed’s announcement. And the S&P 500 is still above its Friday closing level, even considering Thursday’s selling.
The Fed said it would hike the benchmark lending rate by 50 basis points, rather than the standard 25 basis point, but not a mooted 75 basis points. Markets had expected the move, as the Fed has been adamant about reducing high inflation. But the Fed also said it isn’t considering the more aggressive 75 basis point hike, which was a relief to markets. The central bank also said it would begin reducing its bondholdings.
“Chair Powell said exactly what markets needed to hear,” wrote Keith Lerner, co-chief investment officer at Truist. “He restored the notion that the Fed would maintain maximum flexibility rather than blindly hiking rates.”
This all sounds rosy, but stocks are indeed falling back Thursday. Markets are still in the early stages of deciphering how much damage higher interest rates will do to economic and earnings growth, one of the main challenges to stocks right now.
Consistent with that, investor sentiment is low. A survey of individual investors shows that 16% of respondents are bullish on the stock market, the lowest reading since at least 2015, according to Truist.
That low confidence in the market is also seen in recent price trends. All three major indexes are still trading at levels below their 200-day moving averages. That means investors are still not confident enough to buy stocks at prices consistent with their longer-term trends.
Technology stocks, specifically, aren’t getting much help from the bond market Thursday. The 10-year Treasury yield rose to as high as 3.07%, which would mark a new pandemic-era closing high if it ends the day at that level. Higher yields on long-dated bonds make future profits less valuable and many fast-growing tech companies are valued on the basis that they’ll churn out a chunk of their profits many years in the future.
Next on the market’s radar is the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ jobs report, out Friday. Economists are looking for 400,000 jobs to have been added in April, which would be a decrease over March’s result of 431,000. Any result that is too far above expectations could indicate that the high inflation is sticking around long enough for the Fed to lift interest rates more aggressively than it said it would this week.
For the moment, it doesn’t necessarily look like the employment numbers will crush expectations. Jobless claims for the past week came in at 200,000, versus expectations for 182,000.
Overseas, the pan-European
gave up earlier gains to slip 0.3%. In Asia, Hong Kong’s
Hang Seng Index
lost 0.4% after economic data from China revealed how strict Covid-19 lockdowns have weighed on the country’s economy and service sector.
In the digital asset space, Bitcoin, Ether, and other cryptocurrencies consolidated gains notched over the past day as they rallied alongside stocks following the Fed news.
rose 1.5% over the past 24 hours to $39,500, having scored a near 6% daily gain on Wednesday, its biggest one-day jump since early March.
the second-largest digital asset, rose 3% to above $2,900. The token underpinning the Ethereum blockchain network had a one-day gain of 6% on Wednesday, its biggest daily increase since February.
Here are six stocks on the move Thursday:
(ticker: JD) and
(NIO) slumped 6.8% and 13%, respectively. They were among more than 80 U.S.-listed Chinese companies added to a Securities and Exchange Commission list for possible delisting if they don’t increase transparency with their financial accounting.
(SHOP) stock dropped 17% after the company reported a profit of 20 cents a share, missing estimates of 64 cents a share, on sales of $1.2 billion, in line with estimates.
(W) stock fell 18% after the company reported a loss of $1.96 a share, worse than estimates of $1.56 a share, on sales of $3 billion, above expectations for $2.99 billion.
(EBAY) stock dropped 9.3% after the company reported a profit of $1.05 a share, beating estimates of $1.03 a share, on sales of $2.48 billion, above expectations for $2.46 billion.
(ETSY) stock fell 15% after the company reported a profit of 60 cents a share, in line with estimates, on sales of $579 million, above expectations for $575 million.