U.S. stocks struggled to orient themselves in the first session of May after one of the S&P 500’s worst monthly performances since the depths of the pandemic in 2020.
The S&P 500, Dow and Nasdaq each fluctuated between intraday gains and losses on Monday. US crude oil prices fell above $101 a barrel, and the benchmark 10-year Treasury yield held above 2.9%, near its highest level since December 2018 .
This week, investors are bracing for more market-shaping events after April’s volatile trading period. The S&P 500 fell 8.8% in April for its worst monthly performance since March 2020. Tech stocks in particular took a beating, and the Nasdaq Composite slipped 13% last month for its worst since October 2008.
The Federal Reserve’s upcoming monetary policy-setting meeting will be heavily watched in the coming days, with the central bank set to issue its latest policy statement and hold a press conference with Fed Chairman Jerome Powell, Wednesday afternoon. Market participants expect the Fed to hike rates by 50 basis points at the end of this meeting, marking the first rate hike of this magnitude since 2000. This would follow the 25 basis point rate hike base rate made by the Fed in March, bringing the target range for the federal funds rate back to between 0.25% and 0.50% and raising the bottom of the range above zero for the first time since March 2020.
The Fed is also expected to formally announce that it will begin quantitative tightening or remove assets from its $9 trillion balance sheet. The central bank had been recovering assets and adding to its balance sheet during the pandemic as another way to help support the virus-stricken economy. However, expectations of the rollback of this construction stoked volatility after markets grew accustomed to these easy money policies.
And with US GDP growth turning negative for the first time since mid-2020 in the first quarter of this year, some pundits have begun to question whether the Fed will be able to tighten monetary policies without triggering a deeper slowdown in the economic activity.
“Recession risk has increased and the financial health of the private sector could ultimately determine whether policy tightening tips the economy into a slowdown,” Goldman Sachs chief economist Jan Hatzius wrote on Sunday. in a note. “The financial fragility of the private sector has historically amplified the impact of the headwinds facing the current expansion: higher interest rates, rapid wage inflation and slowing growth.”
Meanwhile, the earnings season will also continue this week, with a number of closely watched companies, from Airbnb (ABNB) to Uber (UBER) and Lyft (LYFT) and Block Inc. (SQ) each reporting results. At the start of this week, 55% of the S&P 500 constituents had released actual results for the first quarter, and of those, 80% beat earnings-per-share estimates, while 72% beat expectations. revenue, according to FactSet data.
The expected earnings growth rate for S&P 500 companies as a whole also rose to 7.1%, from 4.7% at the end of March, FactSet noted. Still, if 7.1% remains the index’s actual earnings growth rate in the first quarter, it would be the slowest rate since the fourth quarter of 2020.
11:12 a.m. ET: US manufacturing expansion unexpectedly slows in April to 20-month low: ISM
The expansion of the U.S. manufacturing sector unexpectedly slowed during April as continued supply chain and price pressures weighed on output from goods-producing companies.
The Institution for Supply Management’s April manufacturing index fell to a 20-month low of 55.4 from 57.1 in March. Consensus economists were looking for a reading of 57.6, according to data from Bloomberg. Readings above the neutral level of 50.0 indicate expansion in a sector.
The decline “is primarily due to weaker demand amid a broader slowdown in global manufacturing, rather than a new supply crisis,” wrote Michael Pearce, senior U.S. economist at Capital Economics, in a note. “Most of the weakness in the ISM appears to reflect a slowdown in demand, particularly from the rest of the world, rather than a further intensification of supply constraints.”
Beneath the headline index, employment saw one of the steepest declines, with the ISM manufacturing employment sub-index falling to 50.9 in April from 56.3 in March. More encouragingly, however, the prices paid sub-index fell to 84.6, indicating some moderation in inflationary pressures for manufacturers, although the level remained high by historical standards.
9:32 a.m. ET: Mixed open stocks
Here are the top moves in the markets as of 9:32 a.m. ET:
S&P 500 (^GSPC): +3.80 (+0.09%) to 4,135.73
Dow (^ DJI): +80.64 (+0.24%) to 33,057.85
Nasdaq (^IXIC): -6.49 (-0.05%) to 12,328.15
Raw (CL=F): -$2.96 (-2.83%) at $101.73 per barrel
Gold (CG=F): -$48.30 (-2.53%) at $1,863.40 per ounce
10-year cash flow (^TNX): +7.2 bps for a yield of 2.9590%
7:43 a.m. ET Monday: Stock futures head for a higher open
Here is where the markets were trading Monday morning before the opening bell:
S&P 500 Futures Contracts (ES=F): +7.5 points (+0.18%) to 4,135.00
Dow futures (JM=F): +89 points (+0.27%) to 32,971.00
Nasdaq futures contracts (NQ=F): +27.75 points (+0.22%) to 12,879.75
Raw (CL=F): -$2.95 (-2.82%) at $101.74 per barrel
Gold (CG=F): -$32.40 (-1.69%) at $1,879.30 per ounce
10-year cash flow (^TNX): +3.5 bps for a yield of 2.92%
Emily McCormick is a reporter for Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter.
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