Wall Street’s major indices on Monday kicked off the week with some hefty losses on stronger than expected economic data which raised concerns about the Federal Reserve’s rate hike path, while Treasury yields advanced.
The central bank will be in its quiet period this week ahead of its policy meeting next week.
By late afternoon, the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite (COMP.IND) had slipped 1.95% to 11,237.46 points. The benchmark S&P 500 (SP500) was lower by 1.50% at 3,998.61 points, while the blue-8chip Dow (DJI) declined 1.43% to 33,937.48 points.
“Make no mistake about it, markets have been hard to read lately. On one hand, this is natural when markets are in consolidation, but things are a bit worse due to the focus on the Fed’s action. We have reached an asinine point where ‘good news is bad news’ – positive economic data is seen to potentially encourage the Fed to raise rates, so the market has tended to rally on negative news,” Seeking Alpha contributor Adam Grimes said.
All 11 S&P sectors were trading in the red, with Energy and Financials retreating the most. Defensive sectors Utilities and Health Care fell the least.
It’s “fascinating that at the moment the market is focusing squarely on the very strong likelihood that we’ll ratchet down to ‘only’ a 50bps hike next week and extrapolating that level of dovishness rather than focus on any risks that the terminal rate could end up being nearer say 6% than 5%,” Deutsche Bank’s Jim Reid said. “Indeed Larry Summers was doing the rounds over the weekend suggesting that markets were likely under-pricing terminal and seemingly being more comfortable suggesting a peak nearer 6 than 5%, even if he wasn’t specific over a particular number.”
According to the CME FedWatch tool, markets are now pricing in a 74.7% probability of a 50 basis point rate hike next week.
Among active stocks, Vans shoes maker VF Corp. (VFC) was the top loser on the S&P 500 after a disappointing outlook and the exit of its CEO. Tesla (TSLA) slid after a report that the EV maker was to cut production at its Shanghai plant amid slow demand.