Market Update 04/25/22

Katerina Berezovsky

Market movement from April 19 to April 25 reflected fresh corporate earnings data, along with inflation concerns and rate hike anticipation.

Despite the multi-decade high inflation, the bulk of corporate earnings indicated companies have been able to hold up their profits. With this optimistic information, all major indexes advanced Tuesday, with travel stock doing especially well after a federal judge dismissed the mask requirement for U.S. travelers on airplanes and other mass transit.

Wednesday was marked by a mixed performance from the major indexes and most notably by a 35% drop in Netflix Inc. stock. Its price plunge shed $54 billion in market value and signified the company’s largest single-day percentage decrease since 2004. The drop followed the company’s announcement that it lost 200,000 subscribers in the first quarter and expects to lose another 2 million in the current quarter.

All three major indexes fell Thursday, with the S&P 500 dropping by 1.5%, the Nasdaq composite dropping by 2.1% and the Dow Jones Industrial Average dropping by 1%. The declines reflected remarks from Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell that a half percentage point rate increase is likely at next month’s meeting. Consequently, the 10-year Treasury yield jumped to 2.917%, its highest level since December 2018.

“Fixed income has been a particular point of pain,” Brian O’Reilly, head of market strategy at investment management firm Mediolanum International Funds Ltd, told The Wall Street Journal. “This is the worst bear market in bonds we’ve seen in a generation.”

Friday’s trading session was highlighted by a stock sell-off, with the Dow posting a loss of 2.8%, its worst single-day percentage change since October 2020.

The declines are largely a result of weak earnings reports, specifically from the health care and retail sectors. These are especially concerning to investors, as they are generally indicative of overall economic health, with health care stocks seen as defensive, while retail stocks point to consumer spending trends.

“We are living in a year of higher inflation and that will cause problems for some companies,” Luc Filip, head of investments at private banking firm SYZ Group, told The Wall Street Journal. “What we are trying to assess is really the pricing power of a company, and some will see their profitability come under pressure if they don’t have this.”

Turning to the commodities market, the price of Brent crude oil fell by 4.5% for the week. The price declines can be linked to coronavirus-related shutdowns in Shanghai along with the ongoing war in Ukraine, both reducing demand. The closing price of Brent crude was $106.65 per barrel on Friday and settled at $102.38 per barrel by Monday’s close.

All major indexes advanced Monday, with technology and growth stocks performing especially well while bond yields retreated. Twitter Inc. shares rose 5.7% following the accepted $44 billion takeover by Tesla Inc. CEO Elon Musk.

Corporate earnings releases have been positive, with 80% of the S&P 500 companies that have released earnings beating analyst expectations. Investors will look at fresh data on April consumer sentiment, along with additional earnings reports to gauge the strength of the United States and global economy as the Fed looks to ramp up interest rates.