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Wall Street ends mixed as investors await debt ceiling talks

Published May 22, 2023 05:49AM ET Updated May 22, 2023 09:06PM ET
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© Reuters. Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York City, U.S., May 11, 2023. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid
 
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By Saeed Azhar and Shreyashi Sanyal

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Wall Street finished mixed on Monday, with the Nasdaq helped by gains in Alphabet (NASDAQ:GOOGL) and Meta Platforms, while the S&P 500 ended near flat as investors refrained from big bets ahead of a fresh round of talks about raising the U.S. debt ceiling.

U.S. President Joe Biden and top congressional Republican Kevin McCarthy were set to meet on Monday to discuss raising the federal debt ceiling, just 10 days before the United States could face an unprecedented default.

"Investors are basically saying, 'We're giving at least a 60:40 likelihood that they will come to an agreement in time,'" said Sam Stovall, chief investment strategist at CFRA Research.

"An agreement could simply be the extension, kicking it down the road to decide on a debt ceiling when they also discuss the budgets in September."

The S&P 500 edged up 0.02% to end at 4,192.63 points.

The Nasdaq Composite Index gained 0.50% at 12,720.78 points, while Dow Jones Industrial Average declined 0.42% to 33,286.58 points.

Comments by St. Louis Fed President James Bullard on Monday that the Federal Reserve may still need to raise its benchmark interest rate by another half-point this year pushed up the U.S. dollar.

Investors will look for clues on monetary policy from a slew of Fed speakers and key data points this week such as the April personal consumption expenditure (PCE) index and durable goods.

The PCE index reading, the Fed's preferred inflation gauge, is due on Friday.

Technology-related stocks lifted the market, with Alphabet Inc rising 1.87% and Meta Platforms Inc (NASDAQ:META) adding 1.1%.

"As debt ceiling drama intensifies, mega-cap tech stocks have become Wall Street's new favorite defensive trade," said Edward Moya, senior market analyst at OANDA.

Apple Inc (NASDAQ:AAPL) dropped 0.55% after Loop Capital downgraded the iPhone maker's stock to "hold" from "buy," its first rating cut in five months according to Refinitiv data.

In a move perceived as ramping up U.S.-China trade tensions, Beijing barred chipmaker Micron Technology Inc (NASDAQ:MU) from selling memory chips to key domestic industries, sending its shares 2.85% lower.

Regional banking stocks were lifted by news that PacWest Bancorp has agreed to sell a portfolio of 74 real estate construction loans to a subsidiary of Kennedy-Wilson (NYSE:KW) Holdings Inc.

PacWest shares surged almost by a fifth, leading stocks of some of the other regional banks' higher.

Shares of larger lenders were subdued, with JPMorgan Chase & Co (NYSE:JPM) 0.8% lower despite the company saying its net interest income will rise $3 billion as interest payments increase from its purchase of failed First Republic Bank (OTC:FRCB) this year.

"Everyone should be prepared for rates going higher from here," JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon said at the bank's investor day Monday. "Five percent's not high enough for Fed funds - I've been advising this to clients, and banks, you should be prepared for six, seven."

Shares of Pfizer Inc (NYSE:PFE) surged over 5% after its diabetes drug, in a mid-stage trial involving patients with type 2 diabetes, resulted in weight loss similar to that of Novo Nordisk (NYSE:NVO)'s Ozempic, data published in a medical journal showed.

Shares of Greenhill (NYSE:GHL) & Co more than doubled after Mizuho Financial Group Inc will buy the U.S. M&A advisory firm for $550 million including debt.

Dow component Chevron (NYSE:CVX) dipped 1.8% after the oil major said it would acquire PDC Energy (NASDAQ:PDCE) Inc in an all-stock transaction for $7.6 billion, including debt.

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners on the NYSE by a 1.54-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 1.74-to-1 ratio favored advancers.

The S&P 500 posted 18 new 52-week highs and nine new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 88 new highs and 78 new lows.

Volume on U.S. exchanges was relatively light, with 9.6 billion shares traded, compared to an average of 10.6 billion shares over the previous 20 sessions.

Wall Street ends mixed as investors await debt ceiling talks
 

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Comments (4)
Tilak Mundu
tluck May 22, 2023 10:10PM ET
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It is well known that debt ceiling limit will increase again
Dave Jones
Dave Jones May 22, 2023 5:07PM ET
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There is no way so called investors are giving it 60:40. It's more like 99:1
Robert Cox
Robert Cox May 22, 2023 5:07PM ET
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More like 10% Yes : 90% No
Rajesh Kumar
Rajesh Kumar May 22, 2023 1:47PM ET
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Will the debt ceiling talks ever end.
First Last
First Last May 22, 2023 1:47PM ET
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yes
Derick Lim
Derick Lim May 22, 2023 6:50AM ET
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Micron should ask Sanjay to predict the China ban since he was so confidently predicted a rosy growth in 2025......
Graeme Newport
Graeme Newport May 22, 2023 6:50AM ET
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probably didn't think this China upstarts could affect the USofA. Arrogance of these people... on both sides of the globe... and the political spectrum
 
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