The major stock indexes were mixed Tuesday, though the market was having a better day than it appeared on the surface. Economic data showed that supply chain constraints are easing, enabling the Dow’s momentum from December to continue.
By late morning, the Dow Jones Industrial Average had risen 234 points, or 0.6%, after the index closed at an all-time high of 36,585 Monday. The S&P 500 initially gained, then lost 0.1% after it too closed at a record high in the last session. The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite dropped 1.7%.
While tech stocks dragged the indexes downward, most stocks were up. The Invesco S&P 500 Equal Weight Exchange-Traded Fund (RSP), which weights each stock in the index equally and therefore shows the movement of the average stock, gained 0.7%.
The Institute for Supply Management’s manufacturing index slipped to 58.7 in December, missing expectations of 60 and declining from the prior reading of 61.1. But the latest report contained some encouraging signals.
Supply chain constraints are getting better. That means slower cost increases for companies, which in turn provides less incentive for them to raise prices and contribute to inflation. The prices paid index fell to 68.2 from 82.4. Supplier delivery times also fell. “The supply-chain pressures leading to longer delivery times and rising prices may be easing,” wrote Andrew Hollenhorst, Citigroup economist.
That provides more assurance that the Federal Reserve won’t act too quickly in raising interest rates
Data on job openings for November also contributed to that narrative. Job openings were 10.6 million, below estimates of 11.1 million and less than the prior result of 11.1 million, after a record 4.5 million Americans quit their jobs. Fewer openings means businesses aren’t in as hot pursuit of labor as anticipated, which could slow the pace of wage increases and therefore slow inflation.
The stock market was reflecting optimism on economic growth Tuesday. Any indications that the Fed will be less aggressive in hiking interest rates is an indication that economic growth can be higher, not lower. The more economically-sensitive value stocks were outperforming growth stocks by leaps and bounds Tuesday. “Higher rates [Treasury yields] and economic hopes are helping,” wrote NatAlliance Securities’ Andrew Brenner.
Indeed, higher bond yields were weighing on tech stocks. The 10-year Treasury yield rose to as high as 1.68% after having risen Monday from a 1.51% close on Friday. The yield’s level is its highest since late November, and it is approaching its pandemic-era high of 1.75%. The higher yield reflects higher expectations for long-term inflation, which is bad for tech stocks that are counting on profits far into the future.
Overall, the stock market has been in a good mood lately. The Santa Claus rally, when the market rises in late December as people fund their retirement accounts and others position to hold more equities at year-end, has continued into the new year. In two trading days to start 2022, the S&P 500 is up 0.5%.
“The declines in China have come amidst the further extension of lockdowns, with the city of Zhengzhou (the capital city of Henan province) beginning a partial lockdown,” said Jim Reid, a strategist at Deutsche Bank.
On top of Covid-19 pressures, China’s central bank has moved to drain liquidity. The People’s Bank of China reduced its short-term cash injections Tuesday, leading to the biggest liquidity drain since October, Bloomberg reported.
West Texas Intermediate crude futures gained 0.7% to more than $76 a barrel, even after OPEC said it would increase production as the global economic recovery remains on track.
Here are six stocks on the move Tuesday:
Cruise line Carnival Corp. (CCL) rose 1% after a 6.4% jump Monday. Cruise ship stocks have by and large been sailing upward despite the impact of Omicron on their operations, including a rise in cases among passengers across their fleets.
SunPower (SPWR) stock rose fell 3% even after getting upgraded to Outperform from Market Perform at Raymond James.
Under Armour (UAA) stock gained 1% after getting upgraded to Outperform from Neutral at Baird.