Market Update 05/08/23

Chris Koruth John

Markets remained mixed between May 2 and May 8 as investors remained apprehensive of economic developments pertaining to the United States’ debt ceiling.

Markets closed in the red on Tuesday following elevated skepticism surrounding the regional banking crisis and the possibility of a debt default. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 1.1%, the S&P 500 lost 1.2% and the Nasdaq composite lost 1.1%.The Chicago Board Options Exchange’s Volatility Index rose 10.6% to $17.78. The index is used as a gauge for general investor sentiment concerning equity markets, and a value above $20 indicates bearish sentiment regarding the general market.

The energy select sector and financials select sector were the largest losers, dropping 4.4% and 2.3%, respectively.

Energy commodities suffered due to the United States nearing a catastrophic debt default as soon as June 1.

“The only option that really leaves our economy in good shape — and our financial system — is raising the debt ceiling,” U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said, as reported by Reuters.

The risk of default threatens financial markets and the nation’s credit ratings, both of which would devalue the U.S. dollar. Yellen recommended that Congress raise the debt ceiling because of the Treasury’s inability to pay bills before the deadline.

The three indexes fell on Wednesday following the announcement of a 25-basis-point interest rate hike after the Federal Reserve’s May meeting. The 10th consecutive rate hike pushes the federal funds rate to a range between 5% and 5.25%.

The Dow dropped 0.8%, the S&P 500 fell 0.7% and the technology-heavy Nasdaq declined 0.5%. The volatility index gained 3.2% to a value of $18.34.

The energy select sector and the financials select sector lost 1.9% and 1.1%, respectively. Oil prices cooled 4%, with Brent Crude closing $2.99 lower at $72.33 per barrel.

By Thursday’s close, the Dow sank 0.9%, the S&P 500 declined 0.7% and the Nasdaq fell 0.5%. The volatility index increased 9.5% to $20.09 as equity markets experienced heightened volatility.

The financials select sector and energy select sector declined 1.3% and 1.1%, respectively. Shares of Los Angeles-based regional bank PacWest Bancorp plummeted 50.6% on Thursday following the lender’s plan to explore a strategic acquisition.

The U.S. Department of Labor announced that jobless claims rose 13,000, reaching 242,000 for the week ended on April 29.

Markets closed in the green on Friday with Apple Inc. reporting resilient revenues despite macroeconomic headwinds. The Dow increased 1.7%, the S&P 500 rose 1.8% and the Nasdaq jumped 2.2%.

The technology select sector and financials select sector each grew 2.5%.

The major indexes closed mixed on Monday following a retraction in regional bank stocks. The Dow fell 0.2%, the S&P 500 added 0.1% and the Nasdaq rose 0.2%.

Investors should remain observant of the deepening regional banking crisis. Exposure to sectors like financials and energy should be minimized for the time being.