S&P 500 and Nasdaq rise slightly as Wall Street tries to recover some ground after Wednesday’s sell-off

Stocks pushed higher on Thursday, as investors tried to recover a day after worries over tighter monetary policy led to the year’s first losing session.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average wavered over the flat line. The S&P 500 rose 0.2% and the Nasdaq Composite rose 0.3%.

Energy shares helped boost the market as crude prices rose 3.4%. Diamondback Energy, Devon Energy and Occidental rose about 4%.

Rate-sensitive stocks also were higher a day after minutes from the Federal Reserve’s December meeting revealed the central bank is getting ready to remove its economic help more more quickly than anticipated. Officials discussed reducing the Fed’s balance sheet in another move to dial back its pandemic-era easy monetary policy.

As investors digested the minutes Thursday, the 10-year Treasury yield pushed above 1.75%, after ending last year at 1.51%.

Shares of Wells Fargo and Citi rose more than 2%, while JPMorgan and Bank of America added 1%. Fifth Third Bancorp gained more than 3%.

The Fed’s plan to reduce the number of Treasurys and mortgage-backed securities it holds comes as it is already tapering its bond purchases and is set to hike interest rates after the taper concludes.

“Almost all participants agreed that it would likely be appropriate to initiate balance sheet runoff at some point after the first increase in the target range for the federal funds rate,” the minutes stated.

Stocks slid Wednesday following the release of the minutes. The blue-chip Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 392.54 points, or 1.07%, lower after hitting an intraday record earlier in the session. The S&P 500 fell 1.94%. The tech-heavy Nasdaq saw its biggest one-day loss since February, losing 3.34%.

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“If you ride a wave of liquidity to the upside and that liquidity starts to go away, I don’t think it’s terribly surprising that you’re going to see a reaction,” said Kathy Jones, head of fixed income at Charles Schwab.

“This was the year we were going to transition from extremely easy monetary policy and fiscal policy to less easy monetary and less expansive fiscal policy. That has to have some impact on risk assets that have risen because the discount rate was so low,” Jones added.

Elsewhere Thursday, shares of Allbirds rallied more than 9.5% after Morgan Stanley upgraded the shoe brand, whose stock has struggled since it went public in November.

Shares of Walgreens Boots Alliance gained 2.6% after reporting strong earnings for its latest quarter driven by customers going to stores for Covid treatments and at-home tests. Meanwhile, Bed Bath & Beyond shares soared more than 12% even after the company reported a loss for its fiscal third quarter.

Initial claims for unemployment insurance ticked up to 207,000 for the week ending Jan.1, the Labor Department reported Thursday. Economists surveyed by Dow Jones expect claims would total 195,000.

The data comes a day ahead of the Labor Department’s key nonfarm payrolls report, which is expected to show that the economy added 422,000 jobs in December. However, payroll processing firm ADP reported Wednesday that companies added a much higher-than-expected 807,000 positions for the month, indicating a possible upside surprise to Friday’s count from the department’s Bureau of Labor Statistics.

—CNBC’s Jeff Cox contributed to this report.

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