Shares gave back their recent gains on Thursday. A rough day of trading on Wall Street ended with a mixed finish for the major indexes. The S&P 500 closed 0.1% lower after swinging between small gains and losses. The Dow fell 0.3%, and the Nasdaq was down 0.4%. Energy stocks, the biggest gainers in the S&P 500 this year, were the biggest loss in the market. U.S. crude oil price fell below $90 per barrel for the first time since the beginning of February, before the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Gains in technology stocks, retail, and elsewhere helped contain losses in health care, energy, and other sectors. Muted trading came as investors continued to review the latest updates on the economy and corporate earnings.
Investors are watching jobs data to see if any tightening in the labour market could eventually prompt the Federal Reserve to ease interest rate hikes against inflation. This would potentially reduce the chance of a central bank recession. According to investment officers, they wanted to suppress demand and moderate inflation. And to do so without negatively impacting the labour market. So far, the Fed will rate it all as planned, and they will continue.
The S&P 500 fell 3.23 points to 4,151.94. The Dow was up 85.68 points to 32,726.82. The Nasdaq rose 52.42 points to 12,720.58. The Russell 2000 index of small-cap stocks lost 2.47 points, or 0.1%, to close at 1,906.46. All major indexes except the Dow are on pace for weekly gains after Wednesday’s rally.
Shares and Expectations
U.S. crude oil prices fell 2.3% to $88.54 a barrel on Thursday. This was reflected in the shares of the energy company. Exxon Mobil fell 4.2%. Occidental Petroleum was down 5.8%. Healthcare promotions also lost their place. Tech stocks and a mix of retailers, homebuilders, and industrials posted solid gains. Advanced Micro Devices rose 5.9%. Amazon added 2.2%. Lennar advanced 3.4%, and Deere advanced 1.7%. Stocks rallied this week, with major indexes mostly higher.
August’s gains follow an outstanding July that was the S&P 500’s best month since late 2020. However, markets remain volatile as investors try to determine the way forward for the economy amid the highest inflation in four decades and efforts by central banks to combat high prices. Gains remain on Wall Street as investors look for more clues about how inflation affects various industries.
Hostess fell 3.9% after giving investors a disappointing profit forecast for the year. Bleach and consumer products maker Clorox fell 4.7% after reporting weak earnings forecasts. Companies raise prices on everything from food to clothing to help offset the impact of inflation on supply chains. However, the pressure became too much for many users. Rising gasoline prices throughout the year exacerbated inflation and led to spending cuts.
MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan rose 0.74%. Stocks and U.S. Treasuries rose last week as markets decided the Fed may raise rates less aggressively amid fears of a recession and hopes of slowing inflation. But many Fed policymakers rejected those proposals this week.
According to experts, the labour market is expected to slow down. The bond market says there is a high chance of a recession, while the equity market is focused on labour data. Crude oil fell sharply as recessionary fears fueled concerns about weak demand.
On Friday, prices rebounded in Asian trade, with benchmark Brent crude futures up 0.5% at $94.61 a barrel. In currency markets, the dollar index, which measures the greenback against six major peers, was 105.93. The fraction fell 0.6% overnight as U.S. yields fell. Sterling fell to $1.2142 against the dollar after the spinning started at night. The Bank of England has raised interest rates and warned that Britain is headed for a long recession. Spot gold was unchanged at $1,790 an ounce.
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