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Stocks fell on Wednesday, adding to losses following an extended rout in technology stocks, as investors digested a deluge of economic data before a holiday market closure.
Each of the S&P 500, Dow and Nasdaq opened in the red. The three major indexes held lower even after new Labor Department data showed new weekly jobless claims fell far more than expected to their lowest level since November 1969, underscoring the current tight labor market conditions. The 10-year Treasury yield rose to near 1.7% amid these further signs of a firming economic recovery.
Rising interest rates have coincided with a selloff in tech and growth stocks this week, with the Nasdaq dropping another 0.5% on Tuesday after Monday’s more than 1% decline.
Initially, the markets were happy with the FOMC decision [for Fed Chair Jerome Powell’s renomination] in the sense that it was sort of a continuity play to some degree. But then rates started to rise, and a lot of folks read rising rates as negative for big-cap tech,” Stuart Kaiser, UBS head of equity derivatives research, told Yahoo Finance Live. “So I think the tradeoff we’re going to have here is that, tech has been market leadership — it’s obviously a strong earnings growth and free cash flow engine for U.S. equities — but if you believe it’s going to come under pressure from higher yields, then you end up with kind of a difficult Catch-22.”
Investors are set to receive more economic data later Wednesday morning ahead of the Thanksgiving Day market holiday, with both the U.S. stock and bond markets set to close all day Thursday. Importantly, the Bureau of Economic Analysis will release the October personal consumption expenditures (PCE) deflator, offering an updated look at the extent of the price increases still reverberating through the U.S. economy.
The headline PCE deflator is expected to rise by 5.1% in October over last year for its fastest annual growth rate in more than three decades. Taken in tandem with a bevy of other data pointing to persistently high inflation, investors are speculating that the Federal Reserve will step in and raise benchmark interest rates from their near-zero levels next year to try and stem rising prices.
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