After not moving very much yesterday on the actual news from the Federal Reserve-the Standard & Poor’s 500 finished up 0.29% and the NASDSQ Composite closed higher by 0.40%, today, March 18, markets decided they really didn’t like the Fed’s stance on inflation, interest rates, and bond yields.
A day after Fed chair Jerome Powell said the Fed wasn’t much concerned about either the projects for higher inflation or the rise in Treasury yields, the yield on the 10-year Treasury spiked to 1.71% at the close. (It was at 1.74% as 1 p.m. in New York.) The closing yield amounted to a jump of 7 basis points in the yield on the benchmark Treasury issue. The yield on the 10-year Treasury is now up an astonishing 42 basis points in a month. And as has been the case in 2021 and as you might expect, stocks sold off with high multiple, high momentum technology shares taking the worst beating.
The yield on the 10-year Treasury note climbed to 1.62% today, March 12. That’s a jump of 9 basis points on the day. Following the recent pattern, the climb in yields meant a drop in the prices of technology stocks. Among BIG TECH stocks Apple (AAPL) fell 0.76%; Facebook (FB) dropped 2.00%; Amazon (AMZN) was lower by 0.77%; Alphabet (GOOG) slid 1.50%; and Microsoft (MSFT) lost 0.58%.
Back on February 23, I wrote a post with the headline “Everything is down today” and added that while I wasn’t buying everything on the dip I was doing some selective nibbling. Today’s market looks almost exactly the same–if a bit more so because this drop is coming after recent weakness.
At 3:30 p.m. New York time today, March 3, the yield on the 10-year Treasury was 1.47%. That’s up from yesterday’s 1.42%. So much for any thoughts that yesterday’s rally in bonds and drop in yields might be the beginning of a larger move.
Stock market indexes finished slightly higher today, February 11–the Standard & Poor’s 500 was up 0.17% at the close–or slightly lower–the Dow Jones Industrial Average was lower by 0.02%–as investors looked to see whether technology would resume its mantle of market leadership or if the cape of leadership would pass to consumer stocks. The evidence today was inconclusive.
As of 3:15 p.m. today, February 2, in New York, shares of GameStop (GME)were down 56.22% to $98.50. That a big drop from the January 27 closing high of $347.51, but it’s still significantly above the $17.25 price on January 4. Other stocks that have ridden the Reddit WallStreetBets fever for short squeeze horses are down today too. AMC (AMC) is off 39.70% to $8.02. First Majestic Silver (AG), the big silver play of the last few days, has given up 24.28% to $16.75. Bed Bath & Beyond (BBBY) is off 14.64% to $25.77. American Airlines (AAL), an early short squeeze play, slipped 1.16% to $17.65. The only potential short squeeze bet (if it was, that is) that’s still climbing is vaccine pill biotech Vaxart (VXRT), which was up 34.30% at 3:15 and looks to be riding momentum into the close. (The shares were up 54.43% as of 3:40 p.m.) Vaxart does bring this question to mind: So if the money is coming out of GameStop, etc., where is it going?
This week brings fourth quarter earnings reports from Microsoft (MSFT) on Tuesday, and Apple (AAPL) and Facebook (FB) on Wednesday to add fuel to the Big Tech rally. The NASDAQ 100, the home of big tech stocks, climbed 4.4% last week. Apple is expected to report record fourth quarter earnings. And that will certainly help technology stocks in general. But I’d also count the diversity of the companies reporting this week on the positive side of the ledger.
After barely dragging higher over the last month, big tech stocks turned red hot this week. And next week, when we get earnings from Microsoft (MSFT), APPLE (AAPL) and Facebook (FB) could be even hotter.
Today the Standard & Poor’s 500, the Dow Jones Industrial Average, and the NASDAQ Composite all hit record highs. Likely cause? The peaceful inauguration of Joe Biden as President? Yesterday’s report of blow out gains in subscribers in the fourth quarter from Netflix (NFLX)? While the sigh of relief that the country wasn’t enveloped in another wave of violence at the 46th President took the oath of office certainly played a role, my vote on causation today goes to yesterday’s news from Netflix that the company added 8.5 million subscribers in the fourth quarter, far ahead of Wall Street projections for 6.03 million added subscribers. Netflix shares closed up 16.85% today.
At the close today the Standard & Poor’s 500 was off 0.66%. The Dow Jones industrial Average was lower by 0.29%. The NASDAQ Composite had fallen 1.255 and the NASDAQ 100 had dropped 1.55%. The small cap Russell 2000 was down just 0.03%. The iShares MSCI Emerging Markets ETF (EEM) finished with a loss of 1.33%. As you might conclude from those results from the indexes, the big culprit in today’s retreat was technology, especially big technology stocks.
Of course, a sector can rally on new cash coming off the sidelines. Often, however, when one sector rallies another falls as investors use profits from that sector to fund new buys. That seems to be what happened today when “green” stocks rallied and technology shares fell.
The Standard & Poor’s 500 closed up 0.64% today to a new closing high and ended the year ahead more than 16%. The Dow Jones Industrial Average also closed in record territory after a gain of 0.65% on the day. The Dow is up about 7% for 2020. The NASDAQ Composite managed a gain of 0.14% to bring its gain to 40% for 2020. Today’s advance in the Santa Claus period–which historically also includes the first two trading days in January so it’s not quite over yet–is a good omen for 2021.