Wall Street opens lower, bond rates rise

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August 19, 2022
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Wall Street opens lower, bond rates rise

The New York Stock Exchange was trading sharply lower after Friday’s open, weighed down by technology, with the bond market tensing as the dollar rose, after several Fed members expressed determination on Thursday to continue raising rates.

Around 2:15 p.m. GMT, the Dow Jones dropped 0.79%, the Nasdaq plunged 1.72% and the S&P 500 1.08%.

Thursday, the indices had been slightly positive. The Dow Jones gained 0.06% to 33,999.04 points, the tech-heavy Nasdaq index gained 0.21% to 12,965.34 points and the broader S&P 500 index gained 0.24 %, 4,283.74 points.

“Wall Street is digesting the comments of several regional Fed officials”, who insisted on the need to continue monetary tightening to curb inflation, Wells Fargo analysts summed up.

The president of the regional branch of the St Louis Fed, James Bullard, known for his positions in favor of a restrictive monetary policy, indicated “leaning at this stage, towards 75 basis points”, or three-quarters of a point percentage, as in previous meetings.

He sees US key rates hitting 3.75%-4.00% instead of 2.25%-2.50% today.

Investors fled risky assets and took refuge in Treasury bonds, the price of which moves inversely to yields.

Those at 10 years climbed sharply to 2.97% against 2.88% the day before, the highest for a month, as did the dollar, a safe haven par excellence which jumped 0.56% for the dollar index.

Bond yields “are rising across the world and that’s affecting equities,” Peter Cardillo of Spartan Capital Securities told AFP.

He also noted “the very strong dollar which puts the Japanese yen and the euro under pressure”. “It looks like the euro will slip below parity,” he warned.

– Very strong dollar –

At 108.08 points, the dollar index, which compares the greenback to a basket of other major currencies, was close to its highest in several decades reached on July 14.

The Nasdaq, where many technology stocks are concentrated, riskier assets very sensitive to rate hikes, was the most affected.

Meta (Facebook) lost 2.47%, Alphabet (Google) 1.89%, Tesla too.

As for Apple, which also discovered a security flaw on its iPhones and iPads which “could have been actively exploited” by hackers, it yielded 0.46%.

The highly speculative title of the struggling home goods chain, Bed Bad and Beyond, collapsed on the Nasdaq by 43% to 10.64 dollars after the defection of one of its main shareholders.

Ryan Cohen, the boss of the chain of video game stores, GameStop – another viral action – has offloaded a stake of some 11.8% in the company.

Earlier in the week, he revealed he had acquired the stake, which made investors believe he was going to be a long-term partner and caused the stock to double in value within days.

Some investors have felt mistaken and are calling for an investigation by the stock market policeman, the SEC.

Another failure, the online furniture distributor Wayfair fell by 13.80%, while it will lay off 870 people, or 5% of its workforce.

Deere & Co, the world number one in agricultural machinery, lost 2% after reducing its forecast for annual results. The group reported difficulties in the supply chain and increases in production costs.

Risky asset, Bitcoin fell 8.60% to 21,402 dollars around 2:15 p.m. GMT. The virtual currency has lost $2,000 in the past twenty-four hours.