Dow aims to add to records in 2022, and S&P 500 fights for gains as rising yields hit tech-heavy Nasdaq

view original post

By Christine Idzelis and William Watts

Ford shares hit 21-year high after boosting production of F-150 Lightning electric pickup

The Dow Jones Industrial Average deepened its sojourn into record territory Tuesday, but the broader market was under pressure amid newfound selling in government debt that was driving long-term yields higher and interest-rate sensitive tech shares lower.

What are major indexes doing?

On Monday, the Dow and the S&P 500 closed at records, while the Nasdaq Composite surged 1.2%, to finish just over 1% away from record territory.

What’s driving markets?

Stocks kicked off the session with gains, but turned mixed as the consumer discretionary and tech sectors came under selling pressure as Treasury extended a selloff in 2022 that was driving yields up. Growth-oriented sectors are seen as more sensitive to rising rates.

“This isn’t a calm day where everything is kind of moving together,” said Ryan Detrick, chief market strategist for LPL Financial, in a phone interview Tuesday. “Tech is really taking it on the chin due to the higher yields” he said, whereas financials and banks generally are performing “very, very well.”

The S&P 500’s information technology sector was down around 1.2% in Tuesday afternoon trading, while the financials sector was up 2.8%, according to FactSet data.

Investors are focused on the Federal Reserve and the prospect for rate increases that are expected to begin as early as March. The prospect of rising rates, however, is the largest positive driver for the S&P 500, said Colin Stewart, head of Americas at Quant Insight.

Rather than a negative, multiasset signals investors see the chance of rate increases “as the appropriate thing to do and perhaps even the right timing,” Stewart said, in a phone interview. Investors appear confident COVID-19 will fade away over the next six to nine months, while rate rises will help to squelch inflation pressures.

Minneapolis Fed President Neel Kashkari said Tuesday that inflation has risen higher and lasted longer than he expected. Also, in a separate essay released on his regional bank’s website, Kashkari said that at the most-recent December Federal Open Market Committee meeting, he penciled in two rate increases in 2022. The FOMC next meets on Jan. 25-26.

The economy remains “healthy” and rates hikes are a “normal” part of the market cycle, LPL’s Detrick said. “We’re more mid-cycle,” he said, adding that “higher rates make sense this year” along with more volatility.

Meanwhile, a buildup in defensive positioning by investors heading into the Fed’s December meeting, when policy makers agreed to speed up the process of winding down its monthly asset purchases, may have left defensive sectors like utilities, consumer staples and healthcare rich relative to their cyclical peers, Stewart said.

The energy sector led the way higher Tuesday, up more than 3%, as Brent crude , the global benchmark, traded above $80 a barrel after the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies — OPEC+ — stuck to a plan to incrementally raise output by 400,000 barrels a day next month.

Investors continue to wave off concerns over the omicron variant of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19. Infections have surged, with the U.S. registering 1,083,948 cases on Monday, according to data collected by Johns Hopkins University — more than double the previous record of 486,428 set four days ago.

Hospitalizations for confirmed or suspected COVID-19 cases hit a seven-day average of 97,855 on Monday, according to data from the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services cited by The Wall Street Journal. That is up 41% over the past two weeks but below the pandemic peak of 137,510 seen on Jan. 10, 2021, and a smaller peak of 102,967 seen on Sept. 4, 2021, amid the surge in the delta variant of the coronavirus.

In economic data, the Institute for Supply Management said its December manufacturing index dropped to an 11-month low of 58.7% compared with 61.1% in November. Economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal had expected a reading of 60%. A figure above 50% indicates an expansion in activity.

Americans quitting their jobs rose by 370,000 to a record 4.5 million in November. The quits rate rose to 3% from 2.8% in October, which also matched a prior record high. At the same time, job openings fell by 529,000 to 10.6 million on the last day of November, the Labor Department said Tuesday.

-Christine Idzelis

Which companies are in focus?

What are other assets doing?

 

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

01-04-22 1540ET

Copyright (c) 2022 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.