Wall St falls at open on inflation concerns, rising yields

In this file photo a person walks past the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) at Wall Street on November 16, 2020 in New York City. — AFP pic
In this file photo a person walks past the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) at Wall Street on November 16, 2020 in New York City. — AFP pic

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FEB 22 — US stock indexes fell today as climbing Treasury yields and prospects of rising inflation triggered valuation concerns, hitting shares of high-flying growth companies.

Shares of Apple Inc, Microsoft Corp, Facebook Inc, Alphabet Inc, Tesla Inc, Netflix Inc and Amazon.com Inc resumed a fall from the previous week, falling between 0.6 per cent and 2.1 per cent in early trading.

A largely upbeat fourth-quarter earnings had powered Wall Street’s main indexes to record highs earlier last week, but the rally lost steam on fears of a potential snag in countrywide inoculation efforts and inflation concerns rising from a raft of stimulus measures.

“Since investors are anticipators, they are preparing for a potential spike in inflation now,” said Sam Stovall, chief investment strategist at CFRA Research.

“Most growth stocks benefit from declining interest rates. If interest rates are expected to rise, then that would reduce the intrinsic value of growth stocks.”

Yields on 10-year Treasury notes have already reached 1.38 per cent , above the psychological 1.30 per cent level.

Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell in his semi-annual testimony before Congress this week is likely to reiterate a commitment to keeping policy super easy for as long as needed.

Cyclical stocks have benefited recently from a rotation out of technology-related shares on hopes that they stand to gain from pent-up demand once the COVID-19 pandemic is subdued.

The S&P 500 financial sector rose 0.2 per cent, while energy stocks gained 2.2 per cent on higher oil prices. Nine of the 11 major S&P 500 sectors were in negative territory.

Value stocks have outperformed growth shares in February, with the S&P 500 value index posting three straight weeks of gains this month, while the S&P 500 growth index shed 1.7 per cent last week.

At 9:46 a.m. ET the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 142.78 points, or 0.45 per cent, at 31,351.54, the S&P 500 was down 23.54 points, or 0.60 per cent, at 3,883.17 and the Nasdaq Composite was down 165.59 points, or 1.19 per cent, at 13,708.88.

Boeing Co dropped 2 per cent after showers of jet engine parts over residential areas on both sides of the Atlantic have caught regulators’ attention and prompted the suspension of some of its older planes from service.

The incidents have also put engine maker Pratt & Whitney in the spotlight, with shares of owner Raytheon Technologies Corp , falling 1.8 per cent.

Discovery Inc gained 6.2 per cent after the media company said it was expecting 12 million global paid streaming subscribers by the end of February, as coronavirus-led restrictions kept people home.

Kohl’s Corp jumped 5.7 per cent after a group of activist investors, nominated nine directors to the department store chain’s board.

Principal Financial Group Inc surged 8.3 per cent after a media report that activist investor Elliott Management Corp had taken a stake in the life insurance company and planned to push for changes.

Declining issues outnumbered advancers for a 1.28-to-1 ratio on the NYSE and a 1.72-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.

The S&P index recorded 35 new 52-week highs and no new low, while the Nasdaq recorded 110 new highs and three new lows. — Reuters

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