Market Update 11/14/22

Mark Amstislavskiy

Markets were up for most of the week of Nov. 8 through Nov. 14 as investors digested results from midterm elections and October’s inflation report.

Major indexes were up on Tuesday. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 1%, the Nasdaq composite gained 0.5% and the S&P 500 gained 0.56%.

Investors and political analysts expected a Republican victory in the upcoming midterm elections, thus leading to a divided government. Markets generally take this as good news because it leads to less policy volatility.

“It tends to make the electoral body much less effective in terms of implementing big changes,” Charles Diebel, who is the head of fixed income at Mediolanum International Funds, told Morningstar. “It tends to force the policy agenda much more toward the center.”

However, markets took a turn on Wednesday, when midterm outcomes were closer than expected.

Investors were concerned over turmoil in the cryptocurrency sphere, as cryptocurrency exchange FTX collapsed following a liquidity crunch. Bailout negotiations with competitor Binance ended on Wednesday, when its competitor Binance pulled out of an acquisition deal in the last hour of negotiations.

Cryptocurrency markets suffered, with major digital tokens Bitcoin and Ethereum both falling at least 16%. Stocks also fell, with the Dow shedding 1.95%, the Nasdaq shedding 2.5% and the S&P 500 shedding 2.1%.

Stocks recovered with large gains on Thursday following a favorable consumer price index report.

Overall inflation was 7.7% and the core index increased 6.3% for the month of October. Both numbers were lower than economist’s expectations. The Dow rose 3.7%, the Nasdaq rose 7.35% and the S&P 500 rose 5.5%.

The rally continued into Friday, as optimism regarding Thursday’s inflation data continued to push stocks higher.

The Dow inched up 0.1%, while the Nasdaq gained 1.9% and the S&P 500 increased 0.9%. All indexes were up over the course of the week, with the Dow, the Nasdaq and the S&P 500 adding 4.1%, 8.1% and 5.9% respectively.

While investors are reassured by the recent inflation report, some argue that markets may be overreacting to the optimistic data.

“It certainly is our first hint that inflation could be moderating, but with economic data, there’s always a chance of a head fake,” Valley Forge Capital Management founder Dev Kantesaria said, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Markets changed course on Monday following comments from Federal Reserve officials. They suggested that last month’s inflation data — although reassuring — does not guarantee a pivot. The Dow shed 0.6%, the Nasdaq dropped 1.1% and the S&P 500 fell 0.9%.

“We should get that one data point is not a trend,” Arun Sai, a multi-asset strategist at Pictet Asset Management, told The Wall Street Journal. “We shouldn’t get carried away. If the market is expecting a pivot on the back of this, I’m afraid we’re going to be disappointed.”

While inflation appears to flatten out, investors will continue to look to input from Fed officials to gauge inflation outlook and determine the pace of future interest rate increases.