Salem Radio Network News Tuesday, December 7, 2021

Business

S&P 500 hits record as banks rally on Powell nomination

By Ambar Warrick and Noel Randewich

(Reuters) – The S&P 500 hit a record high on Monday after President Joe Biden picked Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell to lead the central bank for a second term, with Wall Street lenders rallying on the prospect of interest rate hikes in 2022.

The Nasdaq tumbled into negative territory after earlier hitting a record high, with rising Treasury yields weighing on Amazon, Alphabet and other major growth stocks.

Bucking losses in other Big Tech stocks, Apple jumped 2% and was on track to close at its highest level ever after JPMorgan flagged possible improvements to the supply of the iPhone 13 in coming months.

Powell’s nomination was largely welcomed by investors hoping for no big changes in the Fed as it guides the economy through a recovery from the pandemic. The central bank is set to herald a return to pre-pandemic policy by end-2022.

Fed Governor Lael Brainard, who was the other top candidate for the job, will be vice chair, the White House said.

“Markets like predictability. … While Brainard may have been a fine choice, the markets would not know what to expect from her even though the general consensus was that it meant lower rates for longer,” said Randy Frederick, managing director of trading and derivatives, Charles Schwab, Austin, Texas.

The S&P 500 banks index jumped 2.9%, tracking a surge in Treasury yields as investors priced in policy tightening by the first half of 2022. Wells Fargo & Co led gains among major Wall Street banks, adding 3.5%.

Futures contracts tied to the Fed’s policy rate indicated that money markets are now expecting the U.S. central bank to raise interest rates by 25 basis points by next June versus a previous estimate of July.

“Financials being up today is pretty much an interest rate story, and tech being down is a rates story too,” said Ross Mayfield, investment strategist at Baird.

In afternoon trading, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 0.61% at 35,818.62 points, while the S&P 500 gained 0.41% to 4,717.01. The S&P 500 earlier touched a record high 4,743.83.

The Nasdaq Composite dropped 0.48% to 15,980.63.

The S&P 500 value index rallied 1.13%, while the S&P 500 growth index lost 0.25%.

Investors were awaiting a slew of economic data this week, including IHS business activity readings, personal consumption expenditure, and minutes of the Fed’s latest meeting.

Amazon declined 2.3%, while Alphabet lost about 1.4%, both weighing heavily on the Nasdaq.

Tesla Inc gained 3.2% after CEO Elon Musk tweeted that the Model S Plaid will “probably” be coming to China around March.

Activision Blizzard slipped 0.9% after a media report that the video game publisher’s chief executive, Bobby Kotick, would consider leaving if he could not quickly address concerns about company culture.

Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by a 1.04-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 1.62-to-1 ratio favored decliners.

The S&P 500 posted 52 new 52-week highs and 11 new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 131 new highs and 483 new lows.

(Reporting by Noel Randewich in Oakland, California; additional reporting by Ambar Warrick, Devik Jain, Bansari Mayur Kamdar and Shreyashi Sanyal in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta, Maju Samuel and Aurora Ellis)

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