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Stocks Sink to 13-Month Low as U.S. Curve Steepens: Markets Wrap

Stock Markets May 10, 2022 05:02
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2/2 © Bloomberg. An electronic screen displays the stock figures for companies including Tencent Holdings Ltd., Meituan and Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. in Hong Kong, China, on Tuesday, March 15, 2022. Chinese stocks suffered another deep selloff on Tuesday as concerns about the country’s ties with Russia and persistent regulatory pressure sent shares on a downward spiral. Photographer: Paul Yeung/Bloomberg 2/2
 
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(Bloomberg) -- Stocks tumbled to a 13-month low in a widespread selloff amid concern about the Federal Reserve’s ability to tame inflationary spirals without throwing the economy into a recession.

The slide in the S&P 500 topped 3%, while the Treasury curve steepened, with the gap between two- and 30-year rates hitting the widest since mid-March as short-dated bonds led the gains. Investors are increasingly worried about the limits to Fed policy at a time when supply-chain disruptions pose a significant threat to inflation amid a ravaging war in Ukraine and China’s Covid lockdowns. Data Monday showed U.S. consumers project prices in three years to be higher compared with a month ago -- a troubling sign for officials trying to keep longer-term expectations anchored.

Pandemic-era stars bore the brunt of the selling, with Cathie Wood’s flagship exchange-traded fund sinking about 10% and an ETF tracking newly public companies down the most since the onset of the pandemic. Bitcoin slipped below $32,000, falling more than 50% from its all-time high. The rout also spread to energy producers, easily the market’s strongest sector in 2022. The group plunged over 8% as crude slid. Big tech was not spared, with the likes of Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) Inc., Amazon.com Inc (NASDAQ:AMZN). and Nvidia (NASDAQ:NVDA) Corp. off by at least 5%. The Cboe Volatility Index spiked to its highest in two months.

Traders will be closely watching a host of central bank speakers this week after Chair Jerome Powell on Wednesday played down the option of 75 basis-point rate hike. Fed Bank of Atlanta President Raphael Bostic told Bloomberg Television he favors policy makers continuing to raise rates by half-point increments rather than doing anything larger. In a later interview with Reuters broadcast on Twitter (NYSE:TWTR), Bostic added that while he saw low odds for a 75-basis-point hike in the next several months, he’s “not taking anything off the table.”

The April consumer-price index report on Wednesday is the highlight of an otherwise quiet week for economic releases. Inflation is projected to have moderated on both a monthly and annual basis, partly reflecting a dip in gasoline prices that have since picked back up. While inflation likely peaked in March at 8.5%, the hottest in four decades, price pressures are expected to remain elevated, keeping Fed officials on track to steadily lift borrowing costs in the months ahead.

Read: Fed Warns of Worsening Market Liquidity in Stability Report

High inflation readings, a slowing economy and aggressive tightening by the Fed to rein in soaring prices have weighed on risk appetite and valuations. Even if an outright recession is avoided, the outlook for U.S. stocks isn’t particularly bright, according to Goldman Sachs Group Inc (NYSE:GS). strategists.

“Swings will remain large until the path of inflation is clarified,” strategists led by David Kostin wrote in a note to clients, adding that “tightening financial conditions and poor market liquidity make it difficult to argue for a short-term rally similar in size to the one in late March.”

More comments:

  • “The big question is if inflation can head below 3% without the Fed causing a recession,” wrote Dennis DeBusschere, founder of 22V Research. “Until that question is answered, financial conditions are biased tighter, and markets will struggle despite oversold conditions.”
  • “Sentiment is bearish, but not at capitulation levels, market liquidity is poor which leads to greater volatility, and investors are pulling money out of equity and bond funds rather than putting it in,” wrote Solita Marcelli, chief investment officer Americas at UBS Global Wealth Management. “These technical factors can dominate economic news over a few weeks or couple of months, and it will probably take that long for inflation improvement to become apparent.”

Here are key events to watch this week:

  • Cleveland Fed President Loretta Mester, Atlanta Fed President Raphael Bostic, New York Fed President John Williams, Fed Governor Christopher Waller speak, Tuesday
  • Atlanta Fed President Raphael Bostic speaks, Wednesday
  • U.S. CPI, Wednesday
  • EIA crude oil inventory report, Wednesday
  • San Francisco Fed President Mary Daly speaks, Thursday
  • U.S. PPI, initial jobless claims, Thursday
  • University of Michigan consumer sentiment, Friday

Some of the main moves in markets:

Stocks

Currencies

  • The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index rose 0.3%
  • The euro was little changed at $1.0561
  • The British pound fell 0.1% to $1.2333
  • The Japanese yen rose 0.3% to 130.22 per dollar

Bonds

  • The yield on 10-year Treasuries declined nine basis points to 3.03%
  • Germany’s 10-year yield declined four basis points to 1.09%
  • Britain’s 10-year yield declined four basis points to 1.96%

Commodities

  • West Texas Intermediate crude fell 6.4% to $102.73 a barrel
  • Gold futures fell 1.6% to $1,853.10 an ounce

©2022 Bloomberg L.P.

Stocks Sink to 13-Month Low as U.S. Curve Steepens: Markets Wrap
 

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