The US economy sends conflicting signals
NEW YORK, NEW YORK – JULY 25: Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) on July 25, 2022 in New York City.
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US stocks fall as Treasury yields widen their inversion. The US economy is giving mixed signals.
What do you need to know today
- US stocks closed lower on Thursday rejection of the midday rally. The Nasdaq lost the most of any major index, falling 1.02%. The Asia-Pacific region fell largely on Wednesday, although Chinese markets outperformed and rose.
- Speaking of activists, Dan Loeb hedge fund Third Point has become the latest activist investor to buy a stake in Salesforce, CNBC confirmed. He joins ValueAct Capital, Elliott Management and Starboard Value. Salesforce has been hit lately by slowing revenue growth and criticism that it’s paying too much for targets like Slack.
The January rally appears to be fading as investors ponder the strange state of the US economy.
US weekly jobless claims reached 196,000 in the week ending Feb. 4. Although this is 13,000 more than the previous week, it is still one of the lowest numbers ever. However, the number is larger than analysts expected and runs counter to January’s employment data, which reported a record low unemployment rate.
Despite a strong labor market, the Treasury yield curve remains inverted, meaning that the yield on 2-year Treasury bonds exceeds the yield on 10-year Treasury bonds. On Thursday, the inversion widened. This usually indicates that investors are worried about market conditions in the near term, and sometimes signals a recession.
These economic signals, combined with the Federal Reserve’s continued hawkish tone, seem to have given investors pause. On Thursday, US stock indices continued their two-day falling streak. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 0.73% and the S&P 500 lost 0.9%. The tech Nasdaq Composite, weighed down by a 4% drop in parent Google Alphabet and a 3% drop in Meta, fell 1.02%.
Until economic data paints a more coherent picture of the US economy, markets are likely to remain volatile.
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