Stocks fall as volatile month draws to a close

US stocks fell Wednesday morning to start March ahead of key manufacturing data.

The S&P 500 (^GSPC) and Dow Jones Industrial Average (^DJI) fell 0.3%. Contracts on the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite (^IXIC) neared zero.

Shares had hinted at a recovery early Wednesday after performing better than expected Factory and service activity in China in February signaled the country’s “quick near-term recovery,” said Andrew Tyler, head of US market intelligence at JP Morgan.

The benchmark 10-year Treasury bond yield rose to 3.96% on Wednesday morning. Crude oil traded weaker, with the US benchmark WTI falling to $76.56 a barrel.

On the economic data side, Wall Street is awaiting manufacturing data Wednesday morning that could reveal more about the impact of monetary tightening.

Shares fell on Tuesday, rounding out the final day of a volatile February on Wall Street. According to JP Morgan’s trading desk, February’s month-end rebalancing led to some weakness in equities and strength in bonds Tuesday afternoon. Additionally, Goldman Sachs (GS) Investor Day saw the stock sell off 3.8% as the bank considers alternatives for its struggling consumer platforms business.

“After recent strategic missteps, this update is clearly more evolution than revolution,” JPM finance sector specialist James Goulbourne wrote in a note on Tuesday, “with profitability in the ancillary platform solutions business rather than deeper cost reductions in the core business (which the market really wanted). , combined with declining balance sheet exposure which is expected to boost returns.”

February in retrospect, the S&P 500 is now up 3.4% this year, according to data from Bespoke Investment Group. Mega caps have been a massive driver of index movements. However, 20 of the largest stocks in the S&P 500 have accounted for most of the index’s gains.

Now that the calendar is turning, historically March sees the S&P 500’s gains in the second half of the month, Bespoke Investment Group noted.

The course of interest rate hikes by the US Federal Reserve remains in the focus of investors. In his first public speech since taking office last month, Chicago Fed President Austin Goolsbee on Tuesday said it would be a “danger and a mistake for policymakers to rely too heavily on market reactions,” stressing that the importance of “supplementing this traditional data”. On-site observations from the real economy.”

However, Goolsbee, who will vote at this year’s meeting of the Federal Open Market Committee, which sets policy, did not comment on monetary policy.

Since last year, the Fed has hiked interest rates sharply to cool inflation. But inflation remains sticky. Policymakers are set to release new forecasts after the central bank’s March 21-22 meeting.

University of Chicago professor Austin Goolsbee speaks during the Obama Foundation

Austan Goolsbee. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

On the housing front, mortgage rates are moving higher, pushing buyers to the sidelines as the housing market bounces in the spring. Both buy and refinance applications slumped last week, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association seasonally adjusted index. The volume of purchase applications hit a 28-year low, down 44% from a year ago.

Here are some of the tickers trending today on Yahoo Finance:

  • Eli Lilly and Company (LLY): Shares of the drugmaker rose Wednesday morning amid expectations that it will limit out-of-pocket expenses his insulin costs $35 a month. The plan is a promise to bring critical relief to some people with diabetes, who sometimes face higher medical costs.

  • Kohl’s (KSS): Shares of the retail giant fell 1% on Wednesday morning after the company posted a surprise fourth-quarter loss and sales slumped as consumer habits shifted away from discretionary spending.

  • Wendy’s (WHOM): The fast food chain announced this in its quarterly figures plans to aim for sales growth by 2025 as it streamlines costs.

  • Rivian (RIVN): The electric truck maker’s forecast for fiscal 2023 deliveries came in 20% below estimates as the EV maker struggles to ramp up its truck, van and SUV production.

  • nio (NEVER): Another EV maker that issued weak sales guidance, the Chinese premium EV startup, reported a much worse-than-expected fourth-quarter loss as margins took a hit in part due to “loss on purchase commitments.” The stock fell 3% on Wednesday.

  • HP (HPQ): The PC and printing giant’s stock faltered after the company released mixed results amid a weak demand environment for PCs. Revenue for the fiscal quarter fell 18% year over year. Printer sales fell 5% year over year.

  • lowes (LOW): This was announced by the construction company weaker tax revenues in the fourth quarter and provided a conservative outlook going forward, with comparable sales expected flat year-on-year to a 2% decline.

Dani Romero is a reporter for Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter @daniromerotv

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