U.S. stocks fell Thursday to cap another losing week on Wall Street as investors digested a flurry of bank earnings and reeled from more red-hot CPI numbers.
The S&P 500 and tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite each settled at four-week lows, recording declines of 1.2% and 2.2%, respectively. The Dow Jones Industrial Average retreated from a slight advance earlier in the session to close 0.3% lower. Meanwhile, Treasury yields climbed higher, with the 10-year benchmark marking its biggest one-week jump to hit 2.8%, the highest level since December 2018.
The majority of U.S. market indexes finished lower for the second straight week as war in Eastern Europe, inflationary pressures and anticipation for more combative measures by the Federal Reserve to tame rising price levels continued to weigh on sentiment.
“There’s a lot of fear and anticipation as we’re moving into this period of higher interest rates,” Portia Capital Management owner and president Michelle Connell told Yahoo Finance Live. “We’re just not quite sure how much the Fed’s going to dial those up. There’s a lot of uncertainty.”
Social media giant Twitter (TWTR) was again in focus on Thursday after Tesla CEO Elon Musk offered to buy the platform for $54.20 per share, or about $41 billion in cash. In a bid for the company outlined in a new SEC filing, Musk said Twitter must go private in order to make effective changes. Shares of Twitter were down 1.5% to $45.18 a piece at Thursday’s close.
Investors digested quarterly results from banking heavyweights Wells Fargo (WFC), Goldman Sachs (GS), Morgan Stanley (MS), and Citigroup (C) that reflected a lackluster start to 2022, with profits mostly down across the board after a boom year for the industry last year when it benefited from record dealmaking activity and a financial boost from releasing reserves set aside for potential pandemic loan losses.
The initial batch of reports preface a milder quarter for earnings growth than previous periods. However, earnings are expected to be a bright spot for investors who much of this year so far have grappled with sharp market swings tied to worsening geopolitical risk, inflationary pressures and fears monetary tightening may prompt an economic contraction as the Federal Reserve sets out on its rate hiking plans.
Analysts have tempered their expectations on first quarter earnings, lowering bottom-up EPS forecasts in aggregate for Q1 by 0.7% from $52.21 to $51.83, according to data from FactSet. On the other hand, EPS forecasts for the second quarter are up by 1.6% from $55.16% to $56.07, by 2.4% from $57.82 to $59.23 for the third quarter, by 3.9% from $58.31 to $60.59 for the fourth quarter and by 2.0% from $223.43 to $227.80 for 2022 overall.
Economists at Bank of America in a note out this week also predicted a resilient earnings quarter despite grim macroeconomic headlines throughout the period.
“Leading signals and early reporters suggest a high likelihood of an EPS beat in Q1,” BofA said, adding the financial institution expects a 4% beat, or $53.50 vs. consensus $51.54. However, the bank warned analyst expectations for record margins in the coming quarters were “too high.”
“History suggests that oil shocks spawn weaker consumption with a three-to-four quarter lag, indicating a 2H slowdown,” the note said.
4:00 p.m. ET: Stocks extended losses to cap another week in the red
Here’s how the major indexes closed out the holiday-shortened week:
S&P 500 (^GSPC): -53.98 (-1.21%) to 4,392.61
Dow (^DJI): -113.75 (-0.33%) to 34,450.84
Nasdaq (^IXIC): -292.51 (-2.14%) to 13,351.08
Crude (CL=F): +$1.88 (+1.80%) to $106.13 a barrel
Gold (GC=F): -$9.40 (-0.47%) to $1,975.30 per ounce
10-year Treasury (^TNX): +14.1 bps to yield 2.8280%
11:30 a.m. ET: Consumers are slightly more optimistic in early April
U.S. consumer sentiment unexpectedly bounced back in early April from a decade low, lifted by a positive outlook for wage growth amid a strong labor market and a decline in gasoline prices curbing some inflation worries.
The University of Michigan’s Consumer Sentiment Index climbed to 65.7 on a preliminary basis this month from a final reading of 59.4 in March, the lowest since 2011. Economists surveyed by Bloomberg expected a reading of 59.
The improved outlook was boosted by a 29.4% jump in the economic view for the year ahead and a 17.2% increase in personal financial expectations, according to survey Director Richard Curtin.
“A strong labor market bolstered wage expectations among consumers under age 45 to 5.3% – the largest expected gain in more than three decades, since April 1990,” he noted in a statement.
10:25 a.m. ET: Mortgage rates hit 5% to mark highest level in more than a decade
Mortgage rates have logged a stunning climb since the start of 2022, with the rate on the most common home loan hitting a whopping 5% this week — the highest level since February 11.
The rate on the 30-year fixed mortgage jumped to 5% from 4.72% last week, according to Freddie Mac. A year ago at this time, the 30-year borrowing cost averaged 3.04%.
In the last five weeks alone, the rate has climbed 1.24 percentage points and is 1.89 points higher than at the end of 2021.
“This week, mortgage rates averaged five percent for the first time in over a decade,” said Sam Khater, Freddie Mac’s Chief Economist. “As Americans contend with historically high inflation, the combination of rising mortgage rates, elevated home prices and tight inventory are making the pursuit of homeownership the most expensive in a generation.”
9:30 a.m. ET: Stocks flat as investors digest bank earnings
Here were the main moves at markets at the start of Thursday’s trading session:
S&P 500 (^GSPC): +4.82 (+0.11%) to 4,451.41
Dow (^DJI): +141.03 (+0.41%) to 34,705.62
Nasdaq (^IXIC): -12.24 (-0.09%) to 13,631.35
Crude (CL=F): -$1.53 (-1.47%) to $102.72 a barrel
Gold (GC=F): -$4.20 (-0.21%) to $1,980.50 per ounce
10-year Treasury (^TNX): +3.3 bps to yield 2.7200%
8:58 a.m. ET: Retail sales increase despite soaring price levels
American consumers continued spending in March even amid inflationary pressures that led to a surge in the costs of food, gasoline and other basics.
U.S. retail sales rose 0.5% after logging a revised 0.8% jump from January to February. Wage gains, solid hiring and more money in banking accounts have fueled spending.
January’s increase of 4.9% was the biggest jump in spending since March 2021 when American households received a final federal stimulus check of $1,400.
The Commerce Department reported general merchandise stores saw business up 5.4%, while sales at clothing stores jumped 2.6%. Online sales rose 6.4% and restaurant sales climbed 1%.
8:45 a.m. ET: Another 185,000 Americans filed new claims last week
Applications for unemployment insurance rose slightly more than expected in the latest weekly data but held near a 54-year low set earlier this month.
The Labor Department’s latest weekly jobless claims report showed 185,000 claims were filed in the week ended April 9, coming in just above the 170,000 economists surveyed by Bloomberg had expected.
The prior week’s new claims fell to the lowest level since 1968 at 167,000. That compares to the average of about 218,000 new claims filed per week throughout 2019 before the pandemic.
Given the surge and then decline in jobless claims, the Labor Department has also now reconfigured the way it adjusts the weekly data to account for seasonal factors. Starting last week, the Labor Department returned to using “multiplicative” seasonal adjustment factors for the data. For much of the pandemic, the department had been using “additive” seasonal adjustments that help smooth out large swings in the weekly numbers.
8:15 a.m. ET: Citi profit drops 46% due to loan loss provisions and slower dealmaking
The banking powerhouse added $1.9 billion to its reserves in the quarter to prepare for losses from direct exposures to Russia and the economic impact of its war in Ukraine. Citi is the most global of the U.S. banks. The move pushed credit costs to $755 million, a contrast from the $2.1 billion benefit one year ago when it freed up loss reserves built up during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Citi reduced its exposure to Russia to $7.8 billion, from $9.8 billion in December, also lowering its worst-case-scenario loss estimate to no more than $3 billion, down from the nearly $5 billion estimated last month.
Meanwhile, net income fell to $4.30 billion, or $2.02 per share from $7.94 billion, or $3.62 per share, a year earlier.
Shares of Citigroup were up 3% in pre-market trading.
8:03 a.m. ET: Goldman Sachs reports 42% fall in first-quarter profit
Goldman Sachs (GS) saw first-quarter profit halve during the first quarter on a slowdown in capital markets activity from levels in the same period last year that weighed on the bank’s investment banking business.
Profit applicable to common shareholders fell to $3.83 billion, or $10.76 per share, in the quarter ended March 31, from $6.71 billion, or $18.60 per share, a year ago.
Total net revenue fell to $12.93 billion in the quarter, down nearly 27% from last year.
“It was a turbulent quarter dominated by the devastating invasion of Ukraine,” CEO David Solomon said in a statement. “The rapidly evolving market environment had a significant effect on client activity as risk intermediation came to the fore and equity issuance came to a near standstill. Despite the environment, our results in the quarter show we continued to effectively support our clients.”
Goldman Sachs shares were up 1.3% in pre-market trading.