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Stocks sank on Monday, with technology stocks under renewed pressure as investors anticipated higher interest rates this year and looked ahead to several economic data and earnings reports later this week.
The S&P 500 dropped more than 2% at session lows to add to losses after the blue-chip index closed out its first week of trading for the new year in the red. The Nasdaq Composite fell following its worst week since February 2021. The Dow also fell. Other risk assets also came under pressure, and Bitcoin prices fell below $40,000 for the first time in about four months.
Treasury yields climbed, and the benchmark 10-year yield topped 1.8% to reach its highest level since January 2020.
“The surge in rates since early December has crushed the valuation of stocks with high growth and low margins, but a well-ordered progression of Russell 3000 stocks implies further repricing,” Goldman Sachs chief equity strategist David Kostin wrote in a note.
“We have previously shown the speed of rate moves matters for equity returns,” Kostin added. “Equities typically struggle when the 5-day. or 1-month change in nominal or real rates is greater than 2 standard deviations. The magnitude of the recent yield qualifies as a 2+ standard deviation event in both cases.”
The move higher in yields and volatility across U.S. equities came after the release of the Federal Reserve’s December meeting minutes mid-last week. These suggested some central bank officials were eyeing a quicker start to interest rate hikes and balance sheet runoff process than many market participants had expected. Goldman Sachs economists now predict the Fed will raise interest rates four times this year — or one time more than the firm previously expected — and that the central bank’s balance sheet reduction will begin in July or earlier.
Last week’s “price action in 10-years was all about what the Fed will do with its balance sheet,” Nicholas Colas, co-founder of DataTrek Research, wrote in a note. “We’ll know more on Tuesday, with [Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell’s] renomination hearing set for 10 a.m. One thing we’re confident about: equity market volatility is not over yet.”
“His confirmation hearing will be a chance for him to further reassure lawmakers and the public that the Fed is focused on reducing inflation in 2022,” Colas added. “We expect that to feed further market volatility this week.”
In addition to Powell’s confirmation hearing before the Senate Banking Committee on Tuesday, investors will also be looking ahead to a new inflation report on Wednesday. The Bureau of Labor Statistics will release the December Consumer Price Index (CPI) that day, which is expected to show an about 7.0% year-over-year jump in prices — or the biggest rise since 1982. And at the end of the week, big banks including JPMorgan Chase (JPM), Citigroup (C) and Wells Fargo (WFC) are each slated to report Friday morning before the opening bell.
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