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Wall Street Breakfast: What Moved Markets

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Wall Street Breakfast

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Stocks closed out the week with a decline, but managed to limit some damage with last-hour buying. The Nasdaq (COMP.IND) -1.9% took the brunt of the selling again, while the S&P (SP500) -0.9% and Dow (DJI) -0.2% also finished in the red. The S&P and Nasdaq had their second-straight losing week, off 1.2% and 2.6% respectively. The Dow Industrials have been down four weeks in a row. Rates tumbled, with the 10-year Treasury yield falling 10 basis points to 1.35%.

Nonfarm payrolls came in lower than expected for November, but the jobless rate dropped and the labor participation rate rose. Rate expectations were pulled forward and there is now a 50% of a quarter-point rate hike in May, according to fed funds futures.

Powell Pivots

After spending months arguing that the surge in pandemic inflation was largely due to "transitory" forces, Fed Chair Jerome Powell told Congress on Tuesday that it's "probably a good time to retire that word." Many have taken issue with the verbiage in recent months, given that Powell has acknowledged that inflation is proving more powerful and persistent than expected. As a result of the price pressures, the Fed is now considering a faster tapering to its asset purchase program, shifting gears to tighter monetary policy.

Can tapering be good for the markets? While stocks sank after the comments - with traders boosting bets on upcoming interest rate hikes - futures are already pointing to renewed gains this morning. Volatility may still be the name of the game, but if history is any guide, the Fed's "taper tantrum" of 2013 was followed by strong gains for equities, as traders bet the economy was healthy enough to stand on its own. Following Ben Bernanke's comments in May 2013, stocks fell 5.8% in the next month, but for the rest of that year, the market was up 17.5%.

Covid in America

The report of an Omicron variant case in California pushed stocks down sharply into Wednesday's close.

When you compare the market reaction to that of other COVID waves and the Delta variant, what's different this time is that there was not a flight to Big Tech stocks, Florence Barjou, CIO at Lyxor Asset Management, said on Bloomberg. "This is really a growth-based selloff, which is why it looks a little bit like panic," Barjou says. "If we do get better news (on Omicron) we think it looks more like an entry point."

JPMorgan strategist Marko Kolanovic goes a step further and posits that Omicron could be the highly-transmissible yet milder variant that crowds out the more severe variants. "As such, we view the recent selloff in these segments as an opportunity to buy the dip in cyclicals, commodities and reopening themes, and to position for higher bond yields and steepening," he says.

Goodbye @jack

Fifteen years after he co-founded the company, Jack Dorsey resigned as CEO of Twitter (TWTR) on Monday, saying he wanted the company to move on from its founders. Shares rose as much as 12% on the news in premarket trading, but closed the session off nearly 3% as investors digested the developments. "This one really has to shake out... it has got lower lows," said Dan Nathan of Risk Reversal Advisors. "We've seen fleets, Super Follows and Twitter Blue, but if technology and innovation at the company have been the big problem, this kind of news is not going to get the company going."

Bigger picture: Sources say that the succession was planned for more than a year, but it could still be challenging to get the company to repivot to areas like media or social e commerce. Last year, activist hedge fund Elliott Management took a 4% stake in Twitter and tried to get rid of Dorsey. There were concerns that he was distracted, since he was also the CEO of mobile payments company Square (SQ), as well as other big interests, like in cryptocurrency, which were taking him away from his job.

Travel Restrictions

Even before Omicron, many European countries began reimposing pandemic restrictions in response to rising coronavirus cases. Austria shut down, Germany flirted with another national lockdown, while Belgium announced it would close nightclubs and prohibit private parties except for weddings and funerals. The focus is now turning to travel restrictions as countries seek to slow the spread of the Omicron variant, which has so far been detected in Australia, Belgium, Britain, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Israel, Italy, the Netherlands and Scotland.

What's happening: In the most far-reaching effort, Japan joined Israel in banning the entry of all foreigners. Meanwhile, Morocco said it would suspend all incoming flights for two weeks starting Monday, Australia reversed its border reopening plans, while the Philippines ditched an idea to let in vaccinated tourists. Over in the U.S., travel will be restricted for non-U.S. citizens from South Africa and seven other countries starting today, though there is no indication of how long the ban will remain in place.

U.S. Indices

Dow -0.9% to 34,580. S&P 500 -1.2% to 4,538. Nasdaq -2.6% to 15,086. Russell 2000 -4.3% to 2,150. CBOE Volatility Index +7.4% to 30.75.

S&P 500 Sectors
Consumer Staples -0.5%. Utilities +1.%. Financials -2.%. Telecom -2.8%. Healthcare -1.1%. Industrials -1.%. Information Technology -0.4%. Materials -1.4%. Energy -0.8%. Consumer Discretionary -2.4%.

World Indices
London +1.1% to 7,122. France +0.4% to 6,766. Germany -0.6% to 15,170. Japan -2.5% to 28,030. China +1.2% to 3,607. Hong Kong -1.3% to 23,767. India +1.% to 57,696.

Commodities and Bonds
Crude Oil WTI -2.8% to $66.27/bbl. Gold -0.2% to $1,784.2/oz. Natural Gas -24.8% to 4.095. Ten-Year Treasury Yield +0.7% to 132.12.

Forex and Cryptos
EUR/USD -0.01%. USD/JPY -0.43%. GBP/USD -0.76%. Bitcoin -4.3%. Litecoin -7.5%. Ethereum -0.1%. Ripple -5.%.

Top Stock Gainers
Cumberland Pharmaceu (NASDAQ:CPIX) +106%. Tuanche Ltd ADR (NASDAQ:TC) +94%. Adagio Therapeutics Inc (NASDAQ:ADGI) +82%. Krystal Biotech Inc (NASDAQ:KRYS) +71%. Stran & Company Inc (NASDAQ:STRN) +51%.

Top Stock Losers
Beyondspring Inc (NASDAQ:BYSI) -72%. Fennec Pharmaceuticals Inc (NASDAQ:FENC) -54%. Vaxxinity Inc Cl A (NASDAQ:VAXX) -52%. Olema Pharmaceuticals Inc (NASDAQ:OLMA) -50%. Mink Therapeutics Inc (NASDAQ:INKT) -48%.

Where will the markets be headed next week? Current trends and ideas? Add your thoughts to the comments section.

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Comments (5)

value1m profile picture
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in 2019, 357,761 American men died of heart disease, representing 1 in every 4 male deaths. Heart disease is the leading cause of death in men each year. And the need of blood thinners is in high demand cause of this trend.
@PHAS -Phase bio cure of 2021
Porbably more died in 2020 due to hospital overcrowding,
Prepare yourselves for the possibility of getting a lump of coal in your Christmas stocking this yr as the "December Santa Claus Rally" could be taken away by F J Brandon like everything else.
Ben Gee profile picture
@SuperNova_Vaxxed I am grateful I did not get Covid and relatively healthy.
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