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Stocks tumbled on Thursday after strong labor data spurred fears around further Federal Reserve interest rate hikes, reviving concerns about the impact of those hikes on the economy.
The S&P 500 (^GSPC) closed down about 0.8%, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average (^DJI) fell 1.1%, or over 350 points. The tech-focused Nasdaq Composite (^IXIC) fell 0.8%.
The losses came after surprisingly hawkish minutes from the Fed's June meeting showed some policymakers were reluctant to back a pause as finally decided. Almost all backed more increases in 2023.
Markets are now seeing an 95% chance of a hike at the Fed's July meeting, according to the CME FedWatch tool, after fresh data reports Thursday signaled the US labor market is still robust. ADP private-sector payrolls came in well above estimates. Meanwhile, other reports found that layoffs slowed and jobless claims remained relatively low.
Given stocks have previously faced headwinds from concerns the Fed's rate hikes could tip the economy into recession, the data will serve as an appetizer for the crucial June jobs report out on Friday.
Stocks ended the day lower, as a late day recovery couldn’t overcome losses prompted by strong economic data to start Thursday’s trading session.
The S&P 500 (^GSPC) was down 0.79%, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average (^DJI), fell as much as 500 points before recovering to close down 1.07%, or 365 points. The tech-focused Nasdaq (^IXIC) fell 0.82%. Thursday marked the worst day for the Dow since May 2.
Investors now await a highly anticipated jobs report ahead of Friday’s market open.
The Elon Musk versus Mark Zuckerberg fight may happen after all. It just might come in a courtroom instead of an ultimate fighting cage.
According to a report by Semafor, Twitter is already responding to the social media platform — which looks similar to and functions like Twitter. In a letter to Meta CEO Zuckerberg obtained by the publication, Twitter Lawyer Alex Spiro accused Meta of hiring former Twitter employees who “had and continue to have access to Twitter’s trade secrets and other highly confidential information.”
Spiro wrote in the letter: “Twitter intends to strictly enforce its intellectual property rights, and demands that Meta take immediate steps to stop using any Twitter trade secrets or other highly confidential information.”
Meta’s newfound Twitter competitor Threads has skyrocketed to more than 30 million users in less than 24 hours of operations, per Zuckerberg.
Meta shares have given back their gains for the day and turned negative following the report.
Hybrid and remote work may have once spelled the demise of the $15 sad desk salad. But its future isn’t looking so dark anymore.
As Yahoo Finance’s Brooke DiPalma reports, Sweetgreen (SG) stock gained more than 15% on Thursday after Bank of America (BAC) upgraded shares of the fast casual salad chain to Buy from Neutral, with the firm nearly doubling its price target from $9 to $17.
A spike in foot traffic is part of what drove the upgrade. Investors had been worried about the chain’s urban footprint and a slower return to office post pandemic.
Per data citied by BofA from the data intelligence platform Placer.ai, visits to Sweetgreen are up 46% year over year in the second quarter of 2023 so far. In the first quarter, visits were up 39%. The analysts said the data is “removing a key overhang on the stock.”
CEO Jonathan Neman addressed the recovery of the chain’s urban locations on its Q1 earnings call.
“We’re really starting to see the urban stores and particularly the Central Business District stores come back and come back fairly strongly on a 4-day a week basis,” he said. “I could say Mondays today are starting to level off at the same volume we see Tuesday through Thursday. … We’re actually pretty pleased with what we’ve been seeing in the urban stores.”
The strong economic data continues to roll in as investors await Friday’s highly anticipated June jobs report. On Thursday, the Institute for Supply Chain Management Services Index ticked up from 50.3 in May to 53.9 in June. Expectations for the index had been for a reading of 51.2, per Bloomberg consensus data.
In reaction, the Atlanta Fed pushed up its expectations for second quarter GDP from 1.9% to 2.1% on Thursday, citing “recent releases from the US Census Bureau and the Institute for Supply Management.”
Any reading above 50 for the index is considered to be a sign of economic expansion. Thursday’s data comes after Monday’s ISM Manufacturing Index showed that portion of the economy contraction in June. The dichotomy leaves economists to believe services continue to buoy economic expansion in the US economy, backstopping calls for a positive Q2 GDP growth reading incoming from the likes of the Atlanta Fed.
“Services growth is keeping the economy afloat,” Oxford Economics Lead US economist Oren Klachkin wrote in a note on Thursday.
The economics teams at both Citi and Wells Fago noted the services strength could lead to an upside surprise for nonfarm payrolls in June. Wells Fargo went as far as to update their nonfarm payrolls projection after the release of the ISM Services Index. Wells Fargo now expects 260,000 nonfarm payroll jobs were added to the US Economy in June, up from their initial projection of 245,000.
“The service sector continues to benefit from robust demand; that is pushing many businesses to staff up in a way that has been lacking in recent months,” Wells Fargo senior economist Tim Quinlan wrote. “Mercifully, service prices are rising at their slowest pace in years, though sustained demand highlights the upside risk for prices.”
The second half of 2023 is already shaping up a bit differently than the first two quarters.
The U.S. 10-year Treasury-Note yield (^TNX) is screaming higher, resting comfortably above 4.0% again and threatening new highs for the year. It’s up 20 basis points over two days, which is the biggest such jump since the March Federal Reserve meeting began.
S&P 500 sector heat map on day 3 of Q3 2023
This week, only defensive sectors like utilities (XLU) and staples (XLP) are green.
Meanwhile, cyclicals, value and growth — just about everything else — are tumbling.
Looking at the megacaps over these three short days, Tesla (TSLA) is up over 5% and Meta (META) is up 2.5% (buoying the communications sector). Losses are contained, though, as Apple (AAPL), Amazon (AMZN), and Nvidia (NVDA) are each down a modest 1.5% or so.
In my basket of sentiment ETFs, alternative energy (TAN), crypto (BITO), gambling (BETZ), homebuilders (XHB) and chip stocks (SOXX) are all down 3% or more. In that group, only cannabis (MJ) is green, which happens to be the second-worst performer of the year, next to regional banks (XRE).
The three major averages began to pare losses on Thursday afternoon after strong economic data prompted fears of more interest rate hikes, sending stocks lower during morning trading.
The S&P 500 (^GSPC) was down about 1%, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average (^DJI) slipped 1.3%, or 440 points. The tech-focused Nasdaq 100 (^IXIC) fell 1.15%.
Dallas Fed President Lorie Logan said she wanted to raise interest rates another 0.25% last month at the Fed’s policy meeting.
Yahoo Finance’s Jennifer Schonberger reports:
“In my view, it would have been entirely appropriate to raise the federal funds target range at the FOMC’s June meeting, consistent with the data we had seen in recent months and the Fed’s dual-mandate goals,” Logan said in a speech at Central Bank Research Association Annual Meeting at Columbia University on Thursday.
“But in casting my vote, I was mindful of several factors,” Logan added. “In a challenging and uncertain environment, it can make sense to skip a meeting and move more gradually. [Also], financial conditions matter more for the economy than the precise path of the policy rate.”
Minutes released Wednesday from the Fed’s June meeting showed that several central bank officials wanted to raise rates but agreed to a pause.
Logan also said it’s important for the Fed to follow through on its projections. The Fed’s updated economic forecasts suggest two more rate hikes are likely this year.
The three major averages hit new lows on Thursday around 11 a.m. ET as investors digested a slew of strong economic data including signs of a tight labor market and strength in the services sector.
The S&P 500 (^GSPC) was down about 1.3%, as was the Dow Jones Industrial Average (^DJI), which fell as much as 500 points. The tech-focused Nasdaq 100 (^IXIC) led losses, falling 1.5%.
Job openings fell to 9.8 million in May, down from 10.3 million in April, according to the latest Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS). April is now the only month in 2023 that job openings increased from the month prior, according to the survey.
“While job openings declined in May, the drop erased only a portion of April’s increase, and they remain above March levels – highlighting the continued tightness in the labor market,” Oxford Economics’ Ryan Sweet and Matthew Martin wrote on Thursday. “The moderation in labor market data is unlikely to be strong enough to keep the Fed on pause and we expect the FOMC to raise rates at the upcoming meeting in July.”
But the trend lower in job openings, a potential sign of softening in the labor market, came as other labor indicators remained strong, including 497,000 private jobs added in June, per the latest ADP report.
Also in Thursday’s JOLTS release, the quit rate increased to 2.6%, its highest level since February. Given the potential risk of leaving a job amid an uncertain labor environment, the quit rate is often seen as a sign of how Americans are feeling about the economy.
“Workers continue to shrug off any worries of a labor market downturn and businesses are hesitant to let go of any of their workforce,” Sweet and Martin noted. “The separation rate increased 0.2ppts to 3.8%, driven entirely by an increase in the quits rate as the layoffs and discharges rate was unchanged.”
Meta launched its Twitter competitor Threads on Wednesday night. The app, which is linked to Instagram accounts, garnered 10 million signups within seven hours of launch, according to a thread from Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg.
As Yahoo Finance’s Allie Garfinkle reports, the launch of Threads comes at a crucial time for Elon Musk’s Twitter makeover:
Some forecasts have suggested that tens of millions have and will continue to flee Twitter in the aftermath of Musk’s acquisition of the company last October. Within the two years following Musk’s buyout of Twitter, it’s estimated that more than 30 million users will leave the platform, per Insider Intelligence. Even now, the platform’s most active users have started tweeting less and have grown more likely to take a Twitter break, according to Pew Research. The concerns surrounding Twitter’s product likely aren’t helped by a substantially smaller staff than the company has had in recent memory — in the first few months of Musk’s leadership, Twitter shed 80% of its employees.
“Twitter is quite vulnerable,” said Arun Sundararajan, professor at New York University’s Stern School of Business. “Threads is their first real competition since Musk took over. The decentralized alternatives like Mastodon aren’t yet ready for prime time.”
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