Stocks fell on Wednesday, adding to losses following an extended rout in technology stocks, as investors digested a deluge of economic data before a holiday market closure.
Each of the S&P 500, Dow and Nasdaq opened in the red. The three major indexes held lower even after new Labor Department data showed new weekly jobless claims fell far more than expected to their lowest level since November 1969, underscoring the current tight labor market conditions. However, a separate print showed personal consumption expenditures (PCE) accelerated to rise by 5.0% in October, or the fastest rate since 1991, to add to signs of elevated price pressures.
The 10-year Treasury yield rose to near 1.7% amid these further signs of a firming economic recovery and persistently hot inflation data.
Rising interest rates have coincided with a selloff in tech and growth stocks this week, with the Nasdaq dropping another 0.5% on Tuesday after Monday’s more than 1% decline.
“Initially, the markets were happy with the FOMC decision [for Fed Chair Jerome Powell’s renomination] in the sense that it was sort of a continuity play to some degree. But then rates started to rise, and a lot of folks read rising rates as negative for big-cap tech,” Stuart Kaiser, UBS head of equity derivatives research, told Yahoo Finance Live. “So I think the tradeoff we’re going to have here is that, tech has been market leadership — it’s obviously a strong earnings growth and free cash flow engine for U.S. equities — but if you believe it’s going to come under pressure from higher yields, then you end up with kind of a difficult Catch-22.”
According to other analysts, the market action this week — with a renewed rotation away from technology and growth stocks in the face of rising rates — could presage the investing environment for next year.
“[Tuesday] might be an example of what we see more of next year as the Fed moves into a mode of withdrawing liquidity from the markets and ending these pandemic-era policies, perhaps with rate hikes at the end of the year,” Jeffrey Kleintop, Charles Schwab chief global investment strategist, told Yahoo Finance Live. “And that means higher-valuation stocks, well, they tend to not do as well in environments of rising interest rates and tighter financial conditions.”
“So you may want to look to be in those sectors that are maybe trading closer to their average valuations, looking to leadership like financials, energy,” he added. “The only caveat to that is when we see these upticks in COVID cases globally, it tends to favor those lockdown defensives like technology.”
10:15 a.m. ET: Personal spending and income each top estimates in October despite
Personal spending increased in October even amid elevated prices, pointing to continued strength in the consumer despite lingering inflation.
Personal spending, which comprises about two-thirds of U.S. economic activity, rose by 1.3% in October compared to September, the Bureau of Economic Analysis said Wednesday. This was faster than the 0.6% rate posted for September and the 1.0% monthly increase expected, according to Bloomberg data. Real personal spending also accelerated during the month and topped estimates, rising by 0.7% from September’s 0.3% increase.
Personal income, meanwhile, rebounded after dropping last month, rising by 0.5% versus the 0.2% increase anticipated. Income had fallen by 1.0% month-on-month in September, in part coming after federal enhanced unemployment benefits were phased out at the national level after Labor Day.
10:10 a.m. ET: Personal consumption expenditures rose at fastest pace since 1990
A new print on inflation rose at its fastest rate in more than three decades in October, adding to a bevy of data pointing to persistent inflationary pressures.
Personal consumption expenditures rose by 5.0% in October over last year, accelerating from September’s 4.4% rise. The latest monthly print marked the fastest annual growth rate since 1990.
Excluding volatile food and energy prices, the core PCE deflator was up 4.1% in October, also accelerating from September’s revised 3.7% increase. This was the fastest annual rise in the core PCE — the Fed’s preferred inflation gauge — since 1991.
9:30 a.m. ET: Stocks open lower
Here’s where markets were trading just before the opening bell: