Wall Street stumbles as surging Treasury yields slam growth stocks


Wall Street closed sharply lower on Monday as investors started the holiday-shortened week in a risk-off mood, as rising bond yields weighed on market-leading growth stocks ahead of crucial inflation data.

All three major U.S. stock indexes ended deep in negative territory, with tech and tech-adjacent stocks pulling the Nasdaq down the most.

“There’s been two kinds of sell-offs in the past month or two,” said Peter Tuz, president of Chase Investment Counsel in Charlottesville, Virginia. “There’s the rising yields which primarily affects tech and other growth stocks, and then there’s the recession/economic slowdown sell-off that affects energy and various materials’ names.

“Today you’re seeing both.”

The benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury yield hovered near a three-year high ahead of key inflation data expected on Tuesday.

The U.S. Federal Reserve has vowed to aggressively tackle scorching inflation, and market participants largely expect a series of 50-basis-point interest rate hikes from the central bank in the coming months.

“All eyes on an inflation number that’s probably going to be the highest in 40 years, which could prompt higher and more frequent (interest) rate hikes from the Fed,” Tuz added.

The Labor Department’s CPI report expected on Tuesday for any sign the inflation wave has crested. Analysts expect the report will show an 8.5% year-on-year growth in consumer prices, the hottest reading since 1981.

Ongoing geopolitical strife also helped prompt the flight to safety.

Ukraine said it expected Russia to launch a huge new offensive soon as the most serious conflict in Europe since the Balkan wars of the 1990s wore on, despite ongoing peace negotiations.

According to preliminary data, the S&P 500 lost 74.83 points, or 1.67%, to end at 4,413.45 points, while the Nasdaq Composite lost 298.06 points, or 2.17%, to 13,412.94. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 405.08 points, or 1.17%, to 34,316.04.

First-quarter earnings season bursts through the starting gate later this week, with big banks leading the way.

Analysts have curbed their first-quarter optimism. On aggregate, annual S&P 500 earnings growth is estimated to be 6.1%, down from 7.5% at the beginning of the year.

Twitter Inc advanced after its biggest shareholder, Tesla Inc Chairman Elon Musk rejected the social media company’s offer to join its board of directors.

As for Tesla, data showed sales of its electric vehicles plunged in China last month due to that country’s efforts to curb COVID-19 outbreaks, sending its shares lower.

Media and streaming firm Warner Bros Discovery Inc, formed from the $ 43 billion merger of Discovery Inc and assets of AT&T Inc, oscillated in its first day of trading, but ended in negative territory.

Shares of Nvidia Corp plunged after Baird downgraded the chipmaker’s stock to “neutral” from “outperform,” citing order cancellations and potential demand slowdown.

Falling crude prices helped keep commercial air carriers aloft.

Chinese regulators approved its first gaming license since July of last year, boosting U.S.-listed shares of DouYu International Holdings, Huya, NetEase Inc and Bilibili.

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