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S&P 500 Flat as Powell Reiterates Inflation Fight Despite Slip in U.S. Growth

Published 06/29/2022, 02:14 PM
Updated 06/29/2022, 03:12 PM
© Reuters

By Yasin Ebrahim -- The S&P 500 struggled for direction Wednesday after Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell reiterated the central bank’s commitment to keep tightening monetary policy to bring down inflation just as data showed a faster than expected decline in quarterly economic growth. 

The S&P 500 fell 0.2%, the Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 0.3%, or 78 points, the Nasdaq was down 0.10%

"The way to do that [curb inflation] is to slow down [economic] growth, but ideally keep it positive,” Powell said on Wednesday, though conceded that there “is a risk” that the fed may go too far and cause a recession. The Fed chief, however, stressed that the biggest threat to the economy isn’t the Fed overshooting monetary policy tightening, but rather “failing to restore price stability.”

The Fed’s policy measures appear to be already having the desired impact, with the latest economic data showing the first contraction in quarterly U.S. GDP since Q2 2020.

The final reading of first-quarter GDP unexpectedly was revised down by 0.1% to a 1.6% contraction on an annualized basis in the final Q1 report.

Treasury yields gave up some gains, pushing growth sectors like tech higher. Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) and Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) led the gains for big tech, up more than 1%.  

But a fall in semiconductor stocks kept gains in the broader tech sector in check after Bank of America warned of a weaker backdrop for chip demand. 

"Tighter global monetary policy, geopolitical turmoil and consumer weakness is likely to pressure 2HCY22/CY23E chip demand," Bank of America said in a note, according to Barrons.

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NVIDIA (NASDAQ:NVDA) and Advanced Micro Devices (NASDAQ:AMD) were down more than 3%.

Snap (NYSE:SNAP), meanwhile, detailed plans to launch a $3.99 per month subscription plan, Snapchat+, for social media platform Snapchat. The subscription service set to launch this week isn’t expected to become a “material source of revenue” the company said. The shares were flat after giving up early-day gains.  

Energy stocks fell more than 2% after oil prices were pressured by ongoing worries that softer global growth will hurt energy demand.

Consumer discretionary stocks flirted with gains and losses under pressure from a slump in cruise operator Carnival.

Carnival (NYSE:CCL) sank more than 14% after Morgan Stanley cut its price target on the stock to $7 per share from $13 on worries the company’s debt levels pose a serious risk should another shock to demand emerge.

Other cruise operators including Norwegian Cruise Line (NYSE:NCLH) and Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:RCL) fell more than 9%.

On the earnings front, meanwhile, investors digested mostly better-than-expected quarterly results; however, inflation is expected to continue to weigh on growth.

General Mills (NYSE:GIS) reported quarterly results that beat on both the top and bottom lines, but the food producer forecast weaker-than-expected growth for the full-year on concerns about inflation and a consumer shift in demand to lower priced goods. Its shares rose 6%.

Bed Bath & Beyond (NASDAQ:BBBY) fell 23% after reporting a wider than expected loss in the first quarter, and announcing that Mark Tritton will step down as chief executive officer.

McCormick (NYSE:MKC) delivered lower-than-expected quarterly results and cut its full-year outlook, citing higher costs and supply chain issues. Its shares gained more 2%.

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In other news, Nio (NYSE:NIO) denied allegations from Grizzly Research that the Chinese electric carmaker was inflating its revenue from battery sales to Wuhan Weineng Battery Asset in which it has a nearly 20% stake.

Latest comments

November 8, we need a change.
Need to elect better people.  The question is: Is the electorate better?
Another round of "late trade" magic.  Those savvy "investors" just love "buying" into the close.  The legalized financial defiling of America continues.
Quit whining.  The market is flat for the day.
all Powell is doing is ***the housing market and trying to make America poorer.  Inflation is GOING NOWHERE until the price of oil goes lower.  everything will continue to cost more until the cost of producing it is lowered.  His methodology for battling inflation using all his "tools" which are limited is only beneficial to those that are now short the market... which is most likely the same folks that were riding his money printing gravy train.  yes... in the long run... oil prices will come down... after he sticks a wedge in the heart of the economy and kills it.
  Russia started massing troops along Ukraine's border in mid-2021 and invaded in Feb 2022.  The stock markets peaked in late 2021.  Crude spiked from the $70-80 range to the current $100-130 range after the invasion started.
 yeah... and the US is producing how much less than mid-2021?  and OPEC is producing how much less than 2021?  no less.  Russia still produces as well... and they still sell it on the market.  If anything, the war probably resulted in a net reduction of oil consumption in the Ukraine area.  The prices are higher because the market makers have decided they wanted it higher... especially considering they were buying for 20$/brl a couple years ago.
  Production is not any less; demand is more with global economies re-opening from the pandemic and vaccines.  World & US production of crude & nat gas are higher now than in 2021:  &
Economic collapse and free money. The bedrock of wall street.
Hooks and chains flagrantly holding the DOW above 31K and the S&P above 3800.  Truly, the laughingstock of the financial world.
  The stock market isn't a game for "middle and working class".
Depends on your definition of middle class. Not everyone loses. Market doesnt differentiate between rich and poor. It's comprised of buyers and sellers. Yes, some have more purchasing power than others but you still need both. If one can't understand that then maybe they should just sit on the sideline.
Old Mitchel wants the market to return to the days of P/E being around 12 and when NASDAQ was trading in penny stocks. That ship has long sailed. LOL
To control inflation, Mr. Powell wants to slow down the growth. But inflation measures were taken very recently. GDP is already negative, how much further does he want to slow down?
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