The market began the week just as it ended the last one, with interest rates rising and tech shares selling off.
Indeed, rates rose for a seventh straight day to hit levels not seen in some time. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note spiked 5.7 basis points Monday (a basis point is one-one hundredth of a percentage point) to a three-year high of 2.77%.
Predictably, the technology sector was one of the worst-performing sectors, sinking 2.5%.
But it was the energy sector (-3.0%) that led the market lower, hurt by a drop in oil prices. U.S. crude oil futures shed 4% to settle at $94.29 per barrel amid fear that extended COVID-19-related shutdowns in China will sap global energy demand.
The Nasdaq Composite ended the day down 2.2% at 13,411, hurt by weakness in big-cap tech stocks like Microsoft (MSFT, -3.9%) and Nvidia (NVDA, -5.2%). The broader S&P 500 Index (-1.7% at 4,412) and blue-chip Dow Jones Industrial Average (-1.2% at 34,308) likewise finished the session in the red.
As a reminder, it’s a short week for traders and investors. The stock market will be closed on April 15 for Good Friday.
Other news in the stock market today:
The small-cap Russell 2000 gave back 0.7% to 1,980.
Gold futures gained 0.1% to settle at $1,948.20 an ounce.
Bitcoin plunged 6.4% to $40,034.52. (Bitcoin trades 24 hours a day; prices reported here are as of 4 p.m.)
Twitter (TWTR) stock was down more than 3% at its session low following news that Tesla (TSLA) CEO – and new TWTR stakeholder – Elon Musk would not be joining the social media firm’s board of directors, as reported late last week. “Musk’s decision to not join the board of Twitter is the culmination of a week of bizarre behavior and is simply a distraction from the many operational woes facing Tesla,” says David Trainer, CEO of investment research firm New Constructs. “The Musk bump in Twitter shares is likely to fade as investors realize the only value Musk brought was publicity – not all of it good. Although Twitter remains a popular platform, it has its own problems and suggestions like removing a letter from its name can do more harm than good.” TWTR was able to shake off its earlier weakness and end the day up 1.7%.
AT&T (T) jumped 7.7% after the telecommunications firm’s WarnerMedia unit on Friday officially completed its merger with Discovery. (The combined company – Warner Bros Discovery – began trading on the Nasdaq today under the symbol “WBD.”) Additionally, J.P. Morgan analyst Philip Cusick resumed coverate on T with an Overweight (Buy) rating. “The company is investing in its wireless network with its 5G build out as well as expanding its fiber footprint to 30 million locations by 2025,” Cusick writes in a note. “The network enhancements support wireless subscriber and service revenue growth in Mobility and broadband services in Consumer and Business Wireline.”
Earnings Season is About to Begin
Although interest rates have been the market’s main driver for months, earnings season will likely steal away traders’ attention soon enough. Corporate results start flowing this week, and they’re not projected to be as robust as we’ve come to expect.
“Analysts and companies have been more pessimistic compared to recent quarters in their earnings estimate revisions and earnings outlooks for the first quarter to date,” says John Butters, senior earnings analyst at FactSet.
The current estimated earnings growth rate for the S&P 500 is 4.5%, which would mark the lowest earnings growth rate since Q4 2020, Butters says. However, considering that the majority of S&P 500 companies report earnings above estimates, the analyst expects the actual growth rate to top 10% for a fifth consecutive quarter.
JPMorgan Chase (JPM) headlines this week’s earnings calendar when it unveils first-quarter results before Wednesday’s opening bell, marking a stretch of reporting from a number of Dow Jones stocks and financial firms. Speaking of the latter, high inflation and rising interest rates put financial earnings in particulary sharp focus. Here, we’ve compiled a list of some of the most compelling plays in the sector, according to Wall Street’s pros.