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5:36 a.m. May 10, 2021 - By Mark Decambre
The Dow rises to record, aims for longest win streak since mid March but tech stocks retreat 1% early MondayThe Dow Jones Industrial Average opened in record territory Monday but the broader market wobbled as investors continued to process a disappointing jobs report that was seen keeping the Federal Reserve from tightening policy. The Dow gained 0.4% at 34,934, hitting an intraday record at 34,954.62, powered by gains in Goldman Sachs Group and Boeing Co. . The S&P 500 index was off by about 0.1% at 4,228, while the Nasdaq Composite Index was trading 1% lower at 13,622. Analysts said Friday's disappointing April jobs report, which saw U.S. nonfarm payrolls rise by 266,000 versus a consensus forecast for an increase of 1 million, continued to provide a positive backdrop for equities.
12:06 p.m. May 7, 2021 - By Sunny Oh
S&P 500 and Dow Jones finish at records to book weekly gainsU.S. stocks climbed on Friday to clinch weekly gains for the S&P 500 and Dow Jones Industrial Average following a weaker-than-expected jobs report in April. The S&P 500 rose 0.7% to around 4,232, a closing record. The Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed 0.9% to end around 34,549, a new all-time high, based on preliminary numbers. The Nasdaq Composite added 0.9% to finish near 13,752. For the week, the S&P rose 1.2%, the Dow gained 2%, and the Nasdaq fell 1.5%. The U.S. economy added 266,000 in jobs, falling short of MarketWatch-polled estimates for a million gains. Investors suggested the bullish response to disappointing economic data reflected hopes that it may push back the timing for tapering the Federal Reserve's asset purchases and plan for rate hikes, moves that could weigh on the buoyant mood on Wall Street. In company news, shares of Cigna Corp. gained 1.6% Friday after the health services company reported first-quarter profit and revenue that rose above expectations.
4:36 a.m. May 7, 2021 - By Sunny Oh
10-year Treasury yield slides below 1.50% after weaker-than-expected jobs reportLong-dated U.S. Treasury yields fell sharply on Friday after the Labor Department reported the economy had added 266,000 jobs in April, falling well short of the 1 million gains forecast by MarketWatch-polled economists. The 10-year Treasury note yield was down 6.6 basis points to 1.495%, while the 30-year bond yield tumbled 5.5 basis points to 2.181%. Prior to the report, investors were expecting that a strong jobs report would add to the case for faster pace of liftoff from the Federal Reserve's easy-money policies.
11:01 a.m. May 6, 2021 - By Greg Robb
Fed's Bostic says too soon to be tapering asset purchases or for FOMC debate on issueAtlanta Federal Reserve President Raphael Bostic on Thursday said it was too soon to be scaling back asset purchases or having the Fed's interest-rate committee formally discuss the issue at their next meeting in mid-June. In recent days, Dallas Fed President Rob Kaplan has called for a formal discussion of tapering of the Fed's $120 billion of asset purchases, but many other Fed officials have said such a conversation would be premature. "There is a lot of healing that would need to happen before I would want to start to be thinking about us having made substantial progress," which is the benchmark the Fed set for tapering, Bostic said, in comments to reporters after a speech at a Consumer Financial Protection Bureau conference. Bostic said each of the 18 top Fed officials are still making up their own minds about when to taper. "Right now, I'm not sure I am at a place where I would be wanting to force that conversation at a committee level," he said.
12:20 p.m. May 5, 2021 - By Greg Robb
Fed Vice Chairman Clarida says it is not time yet to talk about taperingFederal Reserve Vice Chairman Richard Clarida on Wednesday said it was not time yet to begin conversations about possibly scaling back the central bank's asset purchases. The Fed is buying $120 billion per month of Treasurys and mortgage-related securities as well as keeping interest rates close to zero in order to stimulate the economy. The Fed has said it wants to see "substantial further progress" on its goals of full employment and stable inflation before tapering. Asked when the Fed should start "talking about talking about" tapering, Clarida replied: "We don't think so right now." Dallas Fed President Robert Kaplan said earlier this week it was time to start the discussion about tapering. Several Fed officials speaking on Wednesday have all disagreed with Kaplan. "We'll get more data -and as we move through the year- we will be able to make a judgement on 'substantial further progress,' but we're not there yet," Clarida said.
5:38 a.m. May 5, 2021 - By Sunny Oh
Stocks open higher after ADP jobs reportU.S. stocks opened higher at the start of Wednesday as investors sifted through a private-sector payrolls report showing significant job gains last month. The S&P 500 rose 0.4% to 4,183. The Dow Jones Industrial Average added 40 points, or 0.1%, to 34,173. The Nasdaq Composite climbed 0.8% to 13,741. Automatic Data Processing reported the U.S. economy added 742,000 jobs in April, ahead of the more widely watched nonfarm employment report at the end of the week. The continued job gains affirmed the U.S. recovery, and could put pressure on the Federal Reserve to start discussions on pulling back from its easy-money policies. Hilton Worldwide Holdings Inc. shares slid after the hotel chain's earnings fell short of estimates.
5:30 a.m. May 5, 2021 - By Greg Robb
Fed's Evans says chances of persistently higher inflation are 'remote'The chances that the $2.8 trillion stimulus measures passed by Congress since December will overheat the economy and generate higher inflation are remote, said Chicago Fed President Charles Evans on Wednesday. Inflation is likely to pick up in coming months as people resume normal activities and some bottlenecks emerge but simulations performed by economists at the Chicago Fed see inflation topping out at less than a full percentage point and dissipating in two or three years, Evans said in a speech to the Levy Economics Institute of Bard College. "We still have some ways to go before we meet our goals" of full employment and stable 2% average inflation, Evans said. As a result, Fed policy "is likely on hold for some time," he added. Labor market conditions required to move interest rates off zero or to start to taper the $120 billion in monthly asset purchases "will not be met for a while," he said.
8:41 a.m. May 3, 2021 - By Chris Matthews
Yellen to name Michael Hsu acting comptroller of the currency: reportTreasury Secretary Janet Yellen plans to name a Federal Reserve bank regulator, Michael Hsu, as acting comptroller of the currency, the Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday. Hsu currently serves as associate director of the Fed's bank supervision and regulation division. Yellen will appoint him to the role of first deputy comptroller, after which he will assume the role of acting comptroller of the currency. The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency oversees federally chartered banks, including Goldman Sachs Group. Inc. and Wells Fargo & Co. .
11:38 a.m. May 1, 2021 - By MarketWatch
These money and investing tips can help you decide whether to ‘sell in May and go away’These money and investing stories were popular with MarketWatch readers over the past week.
5:53 p.m. April 28, 2021 - MarketWatch.com
Biden pitches families plan, infrastructure and calls on wealthy to pay ‘fair share’ in first speech to Congress: live blog and video State-of-the-Union-style speech will also focus on policing, immigrationPresident Joe Biden gives his first big speech to Congress on Wednesday night, in a State-of-the-Union-style address in which he’ll make the case to voters for his newly unveiled safety-net and education proposals.
5:37 a.m. April 28, 2021 - By Sunny Oh
Stocks open mostly lower before end of Fed policy meetingU.S. stocks traded mostly lower at the opening bell on Wednesday as investors looked forward to the Federal Reserve's policy update, where the central bank may acknowledge the improvement in economic data. The S&P 500 was up less than 0.1% to 4,188. The Dow Jones Industrial Average retreated 134 points, or 0.4%, to 33,851. The Nasdaq Composite slid 0.3% to 14,053. Still, investors expect the U.S. central bank to emphasize its commitment to its accommodative policies. Shares of Dow component Microsoft Corp. were down even after delivering earnings late Tuesday that easily topped Wall Street forecasts.
12:01 p.m. April 14, 2021 - By Sunny Oh
Dow gains but misses out on record as Fed's Beige Book points to U.S. growthU.S. stocks finished mostly lower on Thursday as the Federal Reserve's Beige Book showed growth and inflation was picking up in the U.S. economy. The S&P 500 fell 0.4% to 4,125. The Dow Jones Industrial Average advanced 55 points, or 0.2%, to 33,732, based on preliminary numbers. The blue-chip benchmark hit an intraday record earlier in the session but ended below the record close of 33,800.60 set last Friday. The Nasdaq Composite slid 1% to 13,858. Investors parsed through better-than-expected earnings from banks including Goldman Sachs, Wells Fargo and JPMorgan Chase. The strong results showed the broadening benefits of the recovery, Shares of cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase Global rose over 30%.
5:37 a.m. April 12, 2021 - By Mark DeCambre
Dow retreats slightly as stock-market investors ready for first-quarter earnings; Microsoft to buy Nuance in $16 billion deal U.S. stock benchmarks fell slightly early Monday as investors positioned for the start of earnings season, and braced for inflation data that could signal whether a surge in rising prices is in the works or set to be transitory. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.1% to around 33,754, the S&P 500 index retreated 0.1% at 4,123, while the Nasdaq Composite Index was trading 0.3% lower at 13,861. In corporate news, shares of Nuance Communications jumped in early trading after Microsoft Corp announced it will buy the speech-recognition company in a $16 billion deal. Markets also were parsing comments from Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell who said the economy "seems to be at an inflection point," with strong growth coming "right now" and the weakness caused by the coronavirus pandemic in the rearview mirror. His comments were from a "60 Minutes" interview that aired on Sunday.
6:22 a.m. April 11, 2021 - By Quentin Fottrell
I’m a farmer in my late 30s and live a frugal lifestyle. My son has a disability. Should I pay extra on my mortgage — or save for retirement? ‘He has a disability that will likely mean he will be living with us for our entire lives’‘He has a disability that will likely mean he will be living with us for our entire lives.’
12:03 p.m. April 9, 2021 - By Sunny Oh
Dow, S&P 500 close at records to book solid weekly gainsU.S. stocks finished higher on Friday, capping a week of gains for major equity benchmarks as investors took comfort in dovish comments from senior Federal Reserve officials throughout this week. The S&P 500 gained 0.8% to finish near 4,129. The Dow Jones Industrial Average advanced 0.9% to end around 33,803, based on preliminary numbers. The S&P 500 and Dow set an intraday record and finished at an all-time high on Friday. The Nasdaq Composite rose 0.5% to end at 13,900. For the week, the S&P 500 gained 2.7%, the Dow rose 2%, and the Nasdaq added 3.1%. Fed Vice Chairman Richard Clarida said on Friday any rise in inflationary was unlikely to last, adding to the impression that the Fed was likely to look past the expected surge in price pressures this year. Amazon.com Inc. shares rose after the e-commerce giant defeated a unionization effort by workers at one of its warehouses in Alabama.
8:12 a.m. April 8, 2021 - By Michael Ashbaugh
Bullish momentum persists: S&P 500 (slightly) extends April breakout Focus: Communications services sector tags record highs, Apple’s stealth trendline breakout, XLC, AAPL, IBM, ON, NUANU.S. stocks are mixed early Thursday, vacillating ahead of scheduled remarks from the Federal Reserve Chairman. Against this backdrop, the S&P 500 has tagged its latest record high, though narrowly, while the Nasdaq Composite has extended an already-aggressive trendline breakout.
12:09 p.m. April 7, 2021 - By Mark DeCambre
S&P 500 books 18th record close of 2021 in listless trading day after Fed signals commitment to lower ratesThe S&P 500 on Wednesday eked out a record, its 18th of the year, but trading action was otherwise lackluster as minutes from the Federal Reserve's last policy meeting appeared to reaffirm a commitment to a lower-rate regime as the COVID-stricken labor market recovers. The S&P 500 index closed up 0.2% at around 4,079, on a preliminary basis. The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished up less than 0.1% at about 33,446, to mark its third gain in four sessions, while the Nasdaq Composite Index edged less than 0.1% lower to around 13,669. "While generally acknowledging that the medium-term outlook for real GDP growth and employment had improved, participants continued to see the uncertainty surrounding that outlook as elevated," minutes from the Fed's March 16-17 meeting read. The central bank said that its "current guidance for the federal funds rate and asset purchases was serving the economy well." Projections from Fed members indicate that policy makers won't look to normalize rates until at 2023 at the earliest but segments of the market have pushed back against that notion, amid fears that inflation will pick up as the economy improves.
7:58 a.m. April 7, 2021 - By Michael Ashbaugh
Bull trend confirmed: S&P 500 tags technical target (4,085) Focus: Europe digests break to 12-year highs, IEV, ASML, ADI, EMR, YUMU.S. stocks are mixed early Wednesday, vacillating ahead of the release of the Federal Reserve’s meeting minutes, due out this afternoon. Against this backdrop, the S&P 500 and Dow industrials are digesting decisive breaks to record territory, while the Nasdaq Composite has sustained an aggressive trendline breakout.
5:37 a.m. April 7, 2021 - By Sunny Oh
Stocks fight for direction at opening bell ahead of Fed minutesU.S. stocks flipped between small gains and losses at the start of Wednesday's session ahead of the release of the Federal Reserve's minutes in the afternoon. The S&P 500 rose 0.1% to 4,076. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 58 points, or 0.2%, to 33,488. The Nasdaq Composite slid 0.3% to 13,658. Investors will look to parse an account of the Fed's two-day meeting on March 16-17, when policy makers raised their forecasts for U.S. economic growth and inflation, but emphasized that accommodative monetary policy would stay in place until 2023. Shares of Target were virtually unchanged after the retailer announced a commitment to spend more than $2 billion with Black-owned businesses by the end of 2025.
5:34 a.m. April 3, 2021 - By Quentin Fottrell
‘Frugality will continue to reign’: Eager to save hundreds of dollars, Americans flock to one type of product A new report from the Conference Board tracks three distinct trendsA new report from the Conference Board tracks three distinct trends.
4:42 a.m. April 2, 2021 - By Sunny Oh
Treasury yields tick higher after jobs reportU.S. Treasury yields moved higher on Friday after a stronger-than-expected jobs report on Friday. The Labor Department said the U.S. economy had added 916,000 jobs in March, above the forecast of 675,000, pushing the unemployment rate down to 6% from 6.2%. The 10-year Treasury note yield rose 1.6 basis points 1.695%, while the 2-year note rate was up a basis point to 0.170%. The 30-year bond yield gained 0.8 basis point to 2.348%. Bond prices move inversely to yields. A faster pace of job gains will add to the growing impression of a U.S. economy gaining steam, and potentially push investors to bring forward the timing of the Federal Reserve's eventual pullback from its accommodative policies.
2:29 p.m. March 29, 2021 - By Quentin Fottrell
Millions of Americans live paycheck to paycheck Roughly half of Americans say they have saved less than $500 in the past 3 monthsRoughly half of Americans say they have saved less than $500 in the past 3 months.
10:17 a.m. March 24, 2021 - By Michael Ashbaugh
Market rotation persists, S&P 500 capped by the breakdown point Focus: Small- and mid-caps extend March downturn, Nasdaq capped by 50-day averageU.S. stocks are mixed Wednesday, vacillating as Treasury yields continue to stabilize in the wake of largely uneventful Federal Reserve policy remarks. Against this backdrop, the S&P 500 remains capped by its breakdown point (3,950) amid still largely range-bound price action as market rotation persists.
10:06 a.m. March 24, 2021 - By Greg Robb
Fed's Williams doesn't expect inflation pressures building over next couple of yearsThe U.S. economy will recover "really nicely" over the next couple of years, but this doesn't mean inflation pressures will build, said New York Fed President John Williams on Wednesday. "I don't see inflationary pressures really building during that time," Williams said during a webinar sponsored by Syracuse University. He noted that inflation rates around the world are very low. In addition, there are still 9 million fewer jobs in the U.S. economy than at the start of the pandemic. If inflation does surprise to the upside, the Fed has the tools to get inflation down near the Fed's 2% annual goal, Williams said.
12:06 p.m. March 23, 2021 - By Mark DeCambre
Dow suffers worst day in about 3 weeks and oil ends in correction territory as investors parse Yellen-Powell testimony U.S. stocks finished solidly lower Tuesday as the first of two days of testimony from Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell and Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen on the state of the government's efforts to limit the economic damage from the COVID-19 pandemic concluded without any major surprises. However, rising worries about extended lockdowns in Europe due to the COVID pandemic helped to drive risk appetite lower and push crude-oil futures into a correcton, defined as a decline of at least 10% from a recent peak. The Dow Jones Industrial Average ended by about 335 points, or 1%, lower at 32,395, marking its worst day since March 4. The S&P 500 index closed off 0.8% to about 3,910, powered lower by declines in industrials and materials , while the Nasdaq Composite Index finished the session 1.1% lower at about 13,228. The slide in stocks acclerated at the end of the session and came even as the 10-year Treasury note yield fell nearly 6 basis points to 1.63%. Bond prices rise as yields fall.
10:29 a.m. March 23, 2021 - MarketWatch.com
Powell, Yellen face House panel amid concerns over deficit, inflation: live blog Biden’s reported $3 trillion package for infrastructure expected to dominate hearingFed Chairman Jerome Powell and Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen testify together for the first time Tuesday before the House Financial Services panel.
12:30 p.m. March 22, 2021 - By Greg Robb
Powell says U.S. economy 'looks to be strengthening'The U.S. economy has recovered more quickly than generally expected "and looks to be strengthening," said Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell in remarks released on Monday. Consumer spending, housing, business investment and manufacturing productions have all picked up, he noted. This good news is due to the unprecedented support from Congress and the central bank in fighting COVID, Powell said. "But the recovery is far from complete, so, at the Fed, we will continue to provide the economy with the support that it needs for as long as it takes," he said. The path of the economy still depends on the pandemic, Powell added. He made the comments in testimony to be delivered Tuesday to a House Financial Services Committee hearing on the government's response to COVID. It is the panel's custom to release text of testimony on the night before a hearing.
8:20 a.m. March 19, 2021 - By Michael Ashbaugh
Charting another bull-trend pullback, S&P 500 tags familiar support Focus: Basic materials assert bull flag, XLB, WHR, FTNT, USB, FOURU.S. stocks are mixed early Friday, vacillating in the wake of this week’s Federal Reserve policy actions. Against this backdrop, the bigger-picture backdrop remains bullish, on balance, though the prevailing market technicals are not one-size-fits-all.
6:19 a.m. March 19, 2021 - By Andrea Riquier
Bank ETFs slide on surprise Fed decisionExchange-traded funds with exposure to the financial sector slipped on Friday after the Federal Reserve said it would not extend a measure of bank regulatory relief. The Invesco KWB Bank ETF was down 2.2% mid-morning, and the First Trust Nasdaq Bank ETF and the Financial Select Sector SPDR Fund each fell 1.7%. Regional-bank funds fared the same: the iShares U.S. Regional Banks ETF gave up 1.7%. The Fed's decision means that starting on April 1, big banks will have to include Treasurys in calculation of the Supplementary Leverage Ratio. An exemption to that rule was put in place in the aftermath of the coronavirus market shocks.
8:18 a.m. March 18, 2021 - By Michael Ashbaugh
Charting market rotation: Dow industrials take flight amid surging Treasury yields Focus: 10-year yield continues to take flight, TNX, NDAQ, DHI, XPO, VNOMU.S. stocks are mixed early Thursday, vacillating as market rotation persists after the Federal Reserve’s Wednesday policy statement. Against this backdrop, the Dow Jones Industrial Average has extended a break atop the 33,000 mark, as the Nasdaq Composite vies to simply maintain a posture atop its 50-day moving average.
8:35 a.m. March 17, 2021 - MarketWatch.com
Fed faces communication challenge as doubts mount about its easy policy stance: live blog In wake of vaccine-rollout and $1.9 trillion stimulus, markets think first Fed interest-rate hike is no longer years awayThe Federal Reserve will release its latest views on the economy and the ‘dot-plot’ view of interest rate policy at 2pm Eastern. Fed Chairman Jerome Powell will follow with a press conference a half-hour later.
7:54 a.m. March 17, 2021 - By Michael Ashbaugh
Charting a bull-trend pullback: S&P 500 digests breakout ahead of Fed Focus: Metals & mining sector sustains break to six-year highs, Facebook’s stealth trendline breakout, XME, FB, SIMO, SBUX, ANU.S. stocks are mixed early Wednesday, vacillating ahead of the Federal Reserve’s policy statement, due out this afternoon.
5:35 a.m. March 17, 2021 - By Sunny Oh
Nasdaq stumbles at the open after 10-year Treasury rises before Fed updateU.S. stocks were mostly lower at the start of Wednesday's session as a rise in long-term Treasury yields appeared to weigh on tech shares. Investors will watch the Federal Reserve's policy update in the afternoon where it could bring forward its expectations for a first rate hike through the so-called dot plot. The S&P 500 fell 0.4% to 3,947. The Dow Jones industrial Average rose 27 points, or 0.1%, to 32,853. The Nasdaq Composite slid 1% to 13,338. The 10-year Treasury yield rose 4.1 basis points to 1.664%, briefly hitting its highest level since Jan. 2020. Bond prices move inversely to yields.
12:05 p.m. March 15, 2021 - By Sunny Oh
Dow records fourth straight record as stocks shake off early weaknessU.S. stocks finished higher on Monday as investors overcame early lackluster trading amid the prospects for the U.S. economy to benefit from a $1.9 trillion stimulus bill. At the same time, market participants were keeping their eyes on the Federal Reserve's meeting later this week. The S&P 500 rose 0.6% to 3,969, booking a new record for a third straight session. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 173 points, or 0.5%, to 32,952, logging an all-time high on Monday. The Nasdaq Composite climbed 1.1% to 13,460. Shares of JetBlue Airways Corp. jumped 5.9% after the air carrier provided an upbeat first-quarter revenue outlook.
8:15 a.m. March 15, 2021 - By Michael Ashbaugh
Charting a slow-motion breakout attempt, S&P 500 nails the range top Focus: Retail sector tags record close, General Motors reaches uncharted territory, XRT, GM, LKQ, ANTM, JWNU.S. stocks are mixed early Monday, vacillating ahead of the Federal Reserve’s mid-week policy meeting. Against this backdrop, the Dow Jones Industrial Average is digesting an aggressive break to record territory, while the S&P 500’s slow-motion breakout attempt remains underway.
6:32 a.m. March 12, 2021 - By Sunny Oh
10-year Treasury yield pushes above 1.60% ahead of next week's Fed meetingU.S. Treasury yields extended their rise on Friday before next week's Federal Reserve meeting where the central bank may opine on the impact of the bond-market selloff on financial conditions. The 10-year Treasury note yield surged 10.6 basis points to 1.633%, its highest level since around Feb. 2020. Bond prices move inversely to yields. Though it wasn't clear what had triggered the sharp surge in yields, investors suggest the fiscal relief bill passed this week may be energizing the bond-market bears. Tom di Galoma, managing director of Treasurys trading at Seaport Global Securities, said if the 10-year closed above 1.64%, the next move for the benchmark maturity would be towards 1.75%.
1:47 p.m. March 10, 2021 - Barrons.com
Bull Case for Hedge FundsDavid Lebovitz, global market strategist for J.P. Morgan Asset Management, discusses how a volatile trading environment has highlighted the appeal of investing in hedge funds in 2021.
4:37 a.m. March 5, 2021 - By Sunny Oh
10-year Treasury yield shoots above 1.60% after jobs reportU.S. Treasury yields climbed after the February jobs report showed higher-than-expected job gains, adding to doubts whether the Federal Reserve will able to stay as accommodative for as long as they have signaled. The 10-year Treasury note yield rose 6.2 basis points to 1.612%, a February high, while the 2-year note rate was up 0.6 basis point to 0.151%. The 30-year bond yield rose 3 basis points to 2.33%. The U.S. economy added 379,000 jobs in February, above the forecast of 210,000.
12:19 p.m. March 4, 2021 - By Mark DeCambre
Dow logs first close below 50-day moving average in over a month after Thursday's interest rate-fueled selloff The Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 on Thursday marked their first finishes below their short-term moving averages in weeks after a market rout apparently precipitated by rising fears that the Federal Reserve may be losing control of inflation and may be forced to jack up borrowing costs faster than they would prefer to cool an overheated economy recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns. The Dow closed down 1.1% at around 30,924 to mark its third straight decline, falling below its 50-day moving average at 30,944.98 for the first time since Feb. 1, while the S&P 500 index closed Thursday's trade 1.3% lower for its third consecutive drop, finishing at 3,769, concluding the session below its 50-day MA at 3,818.61 for the first time since Jan. 29.
12:09 p.m. March 4, 2021 - By Mark DeCambre
Nasdaq Composite narrowly avoids first correction in 6 months as Powell stirs up stock-market rout and Treasury-yield surgeA sluggish day in stocks on Thursday took a turn decidely lower following comments from Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said that he was monitoring a steady climb in yields but failed to provide any guidance on what the central bank might do if yields continued to climb precipitously. Speaking at a webinar hosted by the Wall Street Journal on Thursday after noon, Powell described the Fed's current policy stance as appropriate, perhaps disappointing some investors hoping for more decisive comments on possible adjustments to the central bank's asset purchases. The remarks are credited with triggering a selloff in bonds and stocks, that abated somewhat later in the session, that brought the Nasdaq Composite Index on the brink of falling by 10% from its recent closing high put in on Feb. 12, meeting the commonly used definition for a correction. The Nasdaq ended the session off 2.1% at 12,723, and is now down 9.73% from that record close. Meanwhile, the 10-year Treasury note jumped by about 7 points to around 1.54%. Rising rates have caused friction in equity trading because it forces investors to reassess the relative value of highflying technology and tech-related plays that have enjoyed a bump during the pandemic, compared against other sectors that might perform better headed into an economic recovery. The S&P 500 index closed the session off 1.3% to 3,768, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average finished the day off 1.1% at 30,923. Both finished below their 50-day moving averages for the first time in about four or five weeks, Jan. 29 for the S&P 500 and Feb. 1 for the Dow. At the height of Thursday's selling the Dow was down over 720 points, wiping out its year-to-date gains. The Dow remains up 1% for 2021, the Dow is clinging to a 0.3% year-to-date gain, while the Nasdaq Composite is down 1.3% so far this year.
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