US stocks edge lower as investors eye impact of inflation on corporate earnings

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange
Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange

US stocks slipped on Monday, with investors weighing the impact of inflation on future earnings and whether US companies can continue to handily exceed estimates as they had done in the third quarter. 

Coming up, the market will be eyeing retail sales figures from the Commerce Department on Tuesday and earnings from big box retailers Target and Walmart as indicators of how consumers are feeling heading into the key holiday shopping season. 

The benchmark S&P 500 on Monday climbed at the open, but ended lower. The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite, dragged by electric vehicle maker Tesla, and the Dow Jones Industrial Average both slipped as well.

Equities also edged lower on Monday as Treasury yields climbed on expectations that the Federal Reserve may have to hike interest rates sooner than expected, Edward Moya, senior equity analyst at Oanda said.

Here’s where US indexes stood at the 4:00 p.m. ET on Monday: 

“Inflation will likely get the Fed hiking quickly but then they can stop after a few hikes and markets can calm down,” Moya added. “At some point, the Fed will have to tighten financial conditions and that has some investors hesitating remaining full tilt with stocks.”

Despite rising inflationary pressures exacerbated by global supply chain disruptions, corporate earnings for the third quarter have mostly outperformed Wall Street’s expectations.

And while the S&P 500 is on course to deliver double-digit returns in 2021, the benchmark is likely to pull back to 4,400 next year, a decline of around 6% as earnings growth moderates, according to Morgan Stanley. The bank’s analysts recommended that investors turn to European and Japanese equities. 

Tesla fell as much as 5% after CEO Elon Musk threatened to sell more shares in a tweet response to Senator Bernie Sanders. Musk has already sold billions worth of Tesla stock since he asked his followers in a Twitter poll if he should sell 10% of his Tesla stake.

The yield on 10-year Treasury rose to 1.627% on Monday compared to Friday’s 1.583%. Bond yields and prices move in opposite directions.

In crypto, Gemini has added shiba inu coin to its platform following meme token’s stunning rally this year.

An altcoin called starlink rallied over the weekend, a day after Elon Musk’s SpaceX launched 53 additional internet satellites into orbit.

Solana is now the third crypto asset with a standalone price tracker monitored by the Bloomberg terminal, following bitcoin and ethereum. 

Oil prices were mixed as investors weighed the possibility that Biden may authorize the release of strategic reserves. 

West Texas Intermediate crude oil rose 0.16% to $80.92 per barrel. Brent crude, oil’s international benchmark, edged lower by 0.13% to $82.06 per barrel.

Gold slipped by 0.14% to $1,862.76 per ounce.

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Billionaire investor Chamath Palihapitiya flags concerns about sky-high inflation and rampant money printing

Chamath Palihapitiya
Chamath Palihapitiya thinks strong inflation is here to stay.

  • Chamath Palihapitiya aired concerns about soaring inflation and the Fed’s money printing on Thursday.
  • The billionaire tech investor admitted he’s unsure about how to invest in the current climate.
  • The Social Capital CEO said he’s sold 15% of his stake in fintech SoFi to focus on investments elsewhere.

Billionaire investor Chamath Palihapitiya aired concern about soaring inflation on Thursday, saying it has driven him to rethink his investments.

Palihapitiya, a former Facebook executive who runs the venture capital fund Social Capital, said in a letter posted on Twitter that “markets have been on a tear” and that “almost everything seems to be at all-time highs.”

Yet the investor pointed to a number of concerns. “Inflation is also at 30-year highs,” he said. “And we’re printing more money than ever with talk of more stimulus on the way.”

The Federal Reserve is currently injecting more than $100 billion a month into the economy through bond purchases, and Congress is thrashing out the details of major new spending programmes.

Palihapitiya said on his All In podcast at the weekend that he thinks strong inflation is here to stay, saying it will be “persistent.” He argued that because huge companies such as Amazon and McDonald’s are raising wages sharply, that will force other sectors to pay more too.

Palihapitiya admitted in his podcast and again in his letter that he’s unsure how to approach investing in the current environment. He said in the podcast that he’s “totally confused.”

His thinking appears to have been influenced by Tesla CEO Elon Musk and Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, who have sold billions of dollars of stock in recent weeks.

“Two entrepreneurs who I’ve considered to be the smartest capital allocators of our generation are taking chips off the table,” Palihapitiya wrote in the letter.

The billionaire investor added that his thinking had led him to sell 15% of his stake in fintech company SoFi, so he could build up some cash reserves and fund investments in other areas of the market that he said are “ripe for opportunity.”

These new investments include Mitra Chem, a battery company, and Spectral and Syndica, two companies focused on decentralized finance and crypto, Palihapitiya said. He also expects to increase his stake in Clover Health.

SoFi listed on the Nasdaq this year after merging with one of Palihapitiya’s Social Capital blank-check companies. The fintech company’s stock fell 2.6% Thursday and was down around 2% in premarket trading Friday at $20.57.

Palihapitiya shot to investing fame over the last two years as he aggressively bet on special-purpose acquisition companies, earning him the nickname “SPAC King.” He has become a celebrity among retail investors and is now worth $1.1 billion, according to Forbes.

He’s far from the only investor who’s thinking deeply about inflation, which rose to a 31-year high of 6.2% year-on-year in the US in October.

Musk has said Tesla is feeling the pinch from higher prices and supply-chain problems. Allianz chief economic adviser Mohamed El-Erian has said inflation is here to stay and that the Federal Reserve has made one of the worst judgments in its history by dismissing price rises as transitory.

Yet the US stock market has continued to march upward and keep hitting record highs. The S&P 500 has risen by 25% so far in 2021, buoyed recently by strong corporate earnings and evidence of growth in the underlying economy as it reopens.

Read more: UBS breaks down why beaten-down stocks will finally shine in early 2022 as high-growth names falter — but lays out why investors should make the opposite trade over the next 5 years

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US stocks slide as inflation data shows prices continue to rise at the fastest rate in decades

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) on November 05, 2021 in New York City.

US stocks slid Wednesday after inflation data showed that prices are rising at the fastest rate in decades.

The benchmark S&P 500 edged lower after ending an eight-day winning streak in the previous session – its longest run since 1997. The Dow Jones Industrial Average and the tech-heavy Nasdaq-100 also slipped.

Here’s where US indexes stood shortly after the 9:30 a.m. ET open on Wednesday:

The Consumer Price Index – a key measure of nationwide inflation – gained 6.2% on a year-over-year basis, the fastest rate of annual inflation since 1990. It also showed price growth picking up from September’s one-year pace.

CPI rose 0.9% in October, higher than the 0.6% estimated by economists at Bloomberg. The reading marks an acceleration from the 0.4% gain seen in September and the largest one-month jump since 2008.

“While supply chain disruptions and labor shortages won’t last forever, the bigger question is to what extent these factors affect wage inflation and housing inflation, which are stickier parts of the overall inflation picture and can be slower to reverse,” Nancy Davis, founder of Quadratic Capital Management, said in a statement.

If inflation doesn’t subside, Davis, who is also portfolio manager of the Quadratic Interest Rate Volatility and Inflation Hedge ETF, said the central bank may need to taper at a quicker pace and hike interest rates. This, she said, could hurt stocks and bonds.

Still, she said that CPI is just one measure of inflation. A significant portion of its calculation is comprised of shelter, mainly rental prices in cities, which is not the most comprehensive view of inflation, she added.

Equities have been boosted by strong third-quarter earnings despite headwinds such as supply-chain constraints, persistent labor shortages, and rising inflationary pressures.

The yield on 10-year Treasury notes rose to 1.476% Wednesday compared to Tuesday’s 1.431%. Bond yields and prices move inversely.

Coinbase Global stock slipped 11% Wednesday after the largest cryptocurrency exchange in the US reported third-quarter earnings that missed Wall Street’s expectations.

In cryptocurrencies, bitcoin slipped below $67,000 after hitting new highs, while litecoin is on track for a 30% weekly gain.

Oil prices rose. West Texas Intermediate crude oil jumped 0.17% to $84.29 per barrel. Brent crude, oil’s international benchmark, climbed 0.18% to $84.93 per barrel.

Gold edged higher by as much as 1.31% to $1,853.61 per ounce.

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US stocks eye fresh record highs as upbeat jobs report boosts economic optimism

A stock trader claps at the end of trade at the New York Stock Exchange
A stock trader claps at the end of trade at the New York Stock Exchange

  • US stocks jumped Friday as an upbeat jobs report boosted economic optimism.
  • The economy added 531,000 jobs to nonfarm payrolls in October, beating the median forecast for a gain of 450,000.
  • October marked the strongest month of job creation since July and follows two consecutive months of disappointing gains.
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US stocks signaled new record highs Friday as an upbeat jobs report boosted economic optimism in the country.

The benchmark S&P 500, which closed at a record high for the 63rd time in the previous session on Thursday, added to gains after the strong payroll data came out. The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite also rallied despite shares of Peloton tumbling 33% on a bigger-than-expected loss and lower earnings guidance.

Here’s where US indexes stood at the 9:30 a.m. ET open on Friday:

Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics Friday showed 531,000 jobs were added to nonfarm payrolls in October, beating the median forecast for a gain of 450,000 from economists surveyed by Bloomberg.

It also showed job creation rebounding from September’s pace, which was revised to 312,000 from 194,000 payrolls.

The print, which came as the Delta wave eased further, marks the strongest month of job creation since July and follows two consecutive months of disappointing gains.

Equities have, thus far, been boosted by strong third-quarter earnings despite ongoing supply-chain disruptions and the persistent labor shortages.

The Federal Reserve’s pledge for “patience” in raising interest rates on Wednesday has also set the stage for a robust stock market performance.

“The strong October jobs report confirmed the Federal Reserve’s decision this week to begin tapering its monthly asset purchases, as it’s become clear that the economy isn’t in need of such massive support from the central bank,” Jay Pestrichelli, CEO of ZEGA Financial, a Florida-based investment firm, said in a note.

He did say Friday’s jobs report will not “likely to mean much for the stock market” given that it’s a lagging economic data point. Instead, the market would be more focused on corporate earnings and a continued reopening of the economy, he said.

About half of third-quarter earnings have already been reported, showing a 42% increase in year-on-year EBITDA growth and a 17% rise quarter-on-quarter, Bank of America said Friday.

The yield on 10-year Treasury notes rose to 1.526% Friday from Thursday’s 1.524%. Yields move inversely to bonds.

Meanwhile, oil prices rose after the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and its partners agreed to increase joint production by 400,000 barrels a day, as had been planned, shunning pressure from President Joe Biden for a more rapid increase.

West Texas Intermediate crude oil rose 0.93% to $79.54 per barrel. Brent crude, oil’s international benchmark, climbed 0.71% to $81.11 per barrel.

Gold traded flat to $1,791.43 per ounce.

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Former Fed Chair Alan Greenspan warns high inflation isn’t going away soon as ‘other forces at play’

Alan Greenspan Visits "The Daily Briefing" at Fox News Channel Studios on October 17, 2018 in New York City.
Former Federal Reserve chief Alan Greenspan.

  • Underlying pressures are likely to keep inflation higher for longer, according to former Fed Chair Alan Greenspan.
  • While the rising demand for goods and services has caused prices to spike, it should subside over time, he said.
  • Instead, what will lead to a more inflationary environment is monetizing government debt and its effect on the money supply, he said.

Inflation looks likely to remain higher for longer due to underlying pressures, according to former Federal Reserve Chair Alan Greenspan.

While the rising demand for goods and services has caused prices to spike, it should subside over time, he said in a note published by Advisors Capital Management on Monday.

Instead, “there are other forces at play” that may create a more inflationary environment in the near future, he warned.

“Monetizing the debt cannot be a long-term solution, and increases in the money supply relative to the real goods and services an economy produces will eventually lead to higher price levels,” wrote Greenspan, who is now a senior economic adviser to Advisors.

Even before the pandemic, the former Fed chief said the US debt has steadily outpaced the country’s GDP, lifting the debt-to-GDP ratio. But because of the devastating economic effects of COVID-19, the US has had to respond with the most expensive economic relief effort in modern history, he said.

Meanwhile, supply-side inflationary pressures from the spike in energy prices to wide-ranging commodities shortages are adding to demand-side pressures, Greenspan added.

“The tendency toward inflation remains, unfortunately, well above the average of about 2% over the past two decades,” he said in the note, overshooting the Fed’s target.

For now, yields on the 10-year Treasury notes remaining below the levels they were pre-pandemic levels, he pointed out, suggesting that the financial market may trust in the Fed’s ability to guide the country towards economic recovery.

The Federal Reserve Open Market Committee is expected to announce at its meeting next month that tapering of asset purchases will begin, though rate hikes are not seen until next year.

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Dow, S&P 500 hit fresh records ahead of mega-cap tech earnings

New York Stock Exchange floor
New York Stock Exchange floor.

  • US stocks closed higher with the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 hitting new records.
  • The fresh highs came ahead of the top five US tech companies reporting their third-quarter earnings this week.
  • Oil and gold prices climbed, while the yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note slipped.
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US stocks closed higher to begin the week as investors keenly awaited the slew of corporate earnings due up from the five largest technology companies in the country.

First on the line is Facebook, which will report its third-quarter results Monday after the market close. On the docket for Tuesday are Microsoft and Google parent Alphabet. Apple and Amazon will report on Thursday.

The major indexes swung between gains and losses but stayed in the green throughout the afternoon. The Dow Jones Industrial Average hit a new high Monday, as did the benchmark S&P 500, lifted by the consumer discretionary, energy, and materials sectors. The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite Index also rose.

Here’s where US indexes stood at the 4:00 p.m. ET close on Monday:

Also lined up are quarterly reports from Twitter, Visa, General Electric, and other big names, with a total of 165 companies in the S&P 500 due to report this week, according to Deutsche Bank.

While investors are optimistic big tech firms will deliver strong results, supply-chain issues remain the main risk to earnings, Michael J. Wilson, equity strategist at Morgan Stanley, said in a note Monday.

Following standout results from banks, earnings posted for the third quarter so far have been more mixed compared to previous quarters, he said.

“Last week saw a lot of companies discussing supply issues as a continued and more pervasive risk than initially thought,” he added. “The result is plunging earnings revisions breadth for many sectors and the S&P 500 overall.”

For now, however, US equities looked past inflation concerns and rising interest rates as the Federal Reserve continues to allay concerns that inflation is temporary, Chris Larkin, managing partner of trading at E-Trade Financial, said in a Monday note.

With equities demonstrating they favor earnings reports over macroeconomic indicators, Larkin said the market “could be in for a ride this week.”

Pinterest fell as much as 15%, erasing all the gains it saw last week from news of deal talks, while PayPal surged as much as 6% after the payments giant said a merger is no longer under consideration.

Tesla also surged 11% to cross the $1 trillion valuation milestone for the first time ever on Monday, becoming the second-fastest in history to hit a hit that threshold. The electric carmaker only did so in 18 years.

The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note slipped to 1.638% from Friday’s 1.654%. Bond yields move inversely to prices.

The oil market was mixed. West Texas Intermediate crude oil fell 0.23%, to $83.57 per barrel. Brent crude, oil’s international benchmark, climbed 0.35%, to $85.83 per barrel.

Gold jumped as much as 0.69%, to $1,806.80 per ounce.

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Cathie Wood tells Jack Dorsey there are 3 reasons to expect deflation days after the Twitter founder sounded alarm on rising prices

Cathie Wood, founder and CEO of ARK Investment Management LLC, speaks during the Skybridge Capital SALT New York 2021 conference in New York City, U.S., September 13, 2021. Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey testifies during a remote video hearing held by subcommittees of the U.S. House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Committee in Washington, U.S., March 25, 2021.
Ark Invest CEO Cathie Wood and Twitter
CEO Jack Dorsey

  • Cathie Wood took to Twitter to detail three deflationary forces that will “overcome the supply chain-induced inflation.”
  • She said technological innovation, creative destruction, and cyclical factors will rein in inflation.
  • Her tweet came less than 72 hours after Jack Dorsey sounded an alarm on rising prices.
  • Sign up here for our daily newsletter, 10 Things Before the Opening Bell.

Cathie Wood on Monday took to Twitter to detail three deflationary forces that will “overcome the supply chain-induced inflation,” responding to Jack Dorsey less than 72 hours after he sounded an alarm on rising prices.

On October 22, Twitter founder and CEO Dorsey said: “Hyperinflation is going to change everything. It’s happening.”

The post went viral with over 73,000 likes and 25,000 retweets. Notable comments included MicroStrategy CEO Michael Saylor who said bitcoin is the solution to inflation and economist Peter Schiff who slammed bitcoin and touted gold.

Wood, the founder and CEO of Ark Investment Management, rebutted Dorsey with a 12-part tweet, starting with a misconception she had in 2008, when the Federal Reserve started its quantitative easing following the global financial crisis.

“I thought that inflation would take off. I was wrong,” she said. “Instead, velocity – the rate at which money turns over per year – declined, taking away its inflationary sting. Velocity still is falling.”

Wood said the three roots of deflation will be:

  • Technologically enabled innovation, which will be the “most potent source.” This includes artificial intelligence, an industry whose training costs have been dropping 40%-70% at an annual rate, in what she called a record-breaking deflationary force. “AI is likely to transform every sector, industry, and company” over the next 5-10 years, she said.
  • Creative destruction due to disruptive innovation. Many companies, she said, have catered to short-term-oriented shareholders who mainly seek profit, instead of investing in innovation. These companies “will be forced to service their debts by selling increasingly obsolete goods at discounts: deflation,” she added.
  • Cyclical factors. After shutting down, many business are still catching up to consumer demand that surged during the pandemic and are likely ordering double or triple what they typically need. But she predicted that wave will pass. “Once the holiday season passes and companies face excess supplies, prices should unwind,” she said, adding that some commodity prices such as lumber and iron ore have dropped 50%.

She also said oil demand is below 2019 levels, and rising prices should weaken it. Meanwhile, the ESG trend is forcing energy companies to shift investments toward renewables, and banks are lending less to the sector. Plus, electric vehicles are taking off, “sowing the seeds of a serious oil price decline longer term.”

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Nasdaq falls more than 2% as rising bond yields drag mega-cap tech names lower

Traders work at the New York Stock Exchange in New York, the United States, Nov. 20, 2018.
New York Stock Exchange on Nov. 20, 2018.

US stocks tumbled on Monday dragged by tech-heavyweights like Facebook and Amazon amid rising Treasury yields.

The benchmark S&P 500 fell more than 1.5% – slipping below its 100-day moving average – while the tech-heavy Nasdaq 100 slid more than 2%.

Here’s where US indexes stood at the 4:00 p.m. ET close on Monday:

Facebook fell as much as 4% after a whistleblower alleged that the company does little to stop the spread of hateful content on its platform.

Global markets in the past weeks have been on a downtrend as investors try to anticipate when the Federal Reserve will begin tapering asset purchases amid inflationary pressures driven by a surge in commodity prices and supply chain issues.

These factors have pushed yields higher, with tech stocks in particular bearing the brunt.

“The Nasdaq is the punching bag as global bond yields rise and as many investors anticipate the cyclical rotation trade will become the playbook after the DC debt drama,” Edward Moya, senior market analyst at foreign exchange Oanda, said in a Monday note.

Also looming is the continuation of the debt ceiling crisis that Congress is trying to avert later this month.

A default would erode trust in the dollar and cause interest rates to soar, which would lift mortgage, car loan, and credit card costs for borrowers. S&P said it would cut its rating to the worst-possible rank of D in the event of a single non-payment on government debt.

Despite this, many analysts, including LPL Financial, remain bullish for the fourth quarter – a period that has historically been best time of year for stocks. Beyond 2021, chief market strategist Ryan Detrick and equity strategist Jeff Buchbinder are also optimistic.

“We see a favorable economic environment for stocks in 2022, consistent with prior mid-cycle expansion years and bolstered by continued earnings growth,” they said in a Monday note. “The gains may not come easy, however, with a number of risks.”

In cryptocurrencies, dogecoin spinoff shiba inu coin jumped 30% after Tesla CEO Elon Musk tweeted another picture of his puppy late Sunday.

Bank of America began coverage of digital assets in a report published Monday. According to the note, the crypto and blockchain sectors are simply too big for investors to ignore.

Oil prices spiked after OPEC+ on Monday agreed to keep its existing schedule of gradual hikes in oil production, adding to inflationary pressures engulfing global markets.

West Texas Intermediate crude oil jumped 2.37%, to $77.68 per barrel. Brent crude, oil’s international benchmark, rose 2.59%, to $81.33 per barrel.

Bank of America said last week that Brent crude could hit $100 a barrel for the first time since 2014.

Gold rose 0.17%, to $1,766.30 per ounce.

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Fed risks tapering surprise, stock market shock as central bank’s inflation forecast not ‘credible’, says Wharton’s Jeremy Siegel

Jeremy Siegel, Russell E. Palmer Professor of Finance at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, on an interview on December 30, 2014.
Jeremy Siegel, professor of finance at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.

Wharton finance professor Jeremy Siegel said he does not think the Federal Reserve’s inflation outlook is “credible,” and believes the central bank risks scaling back its monetary policy sooner than expected.

This, he told CNBC Friday, will shock the stock market in early 2022.

“I look at these inflation forecasts that the Fed put, I don’t find them credible at all,” he said, referring to the central bank’s 4.2% target this year and its 2.2% target next year. “We’re going to have much more inflation.”

He continued: “When you see worse inflation, the Fed is going to be pressured and that’s going to disturb the market and that’s down the line.”

Siegel added the US economy can expect “a couple more” bad consumer price index reports towards the end of the year. But in the next two months, he said “the road looks clear” since the Fed will be continuing with its program.

“Powell opened the door saying, if things get worse, we will have to taper faster,’ Siegel told CNBC. “If that happens toward the end of the year, that would rattle the market.”

Siegel also called on the central bank to be more aggressive in containing inflation. He did note that there is not much the Fed can do when it comes to controlling rising prices. Attempting to do so, he noted, will “trouble” the market and the economy.

“I worry actually about an overreaction. Because a lot of that inflation that we’re going to have, I think it’s already there in the pipeline,” Siegel told CNBC. “The Fed can’t really do anything about it.”

The outlook from the Federal Open Market Committee meeting that concluded on Wednesday indicated that tapering asset purchases may “soon be warranted.” Half of the Fed officials expect the first rate hike to arrive by next year.

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US stocks hover near record highs as investors await Fed Chair Powell’s latest speech

Stock Market Traders

US stocks hovered near record highs Wednesday as investors awaited a key speech by Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell later this week during the high-profile annual Jackson Hole conference of central bankers.

The benchmark S&P 500, which attained its 50th record close of 2021 on Tuesday, edged higher. The tech-heavy Nasdaq 100 and the Dow Jones Industrial Average also climbed.

Here’s where US indexes stood at 9:30 a.m. ET open on Wednesday.

All eyes will be on Powell’s speech for any indication of when the central bank will reduce its support for the US economy, which has staged an impressive rebound, by winding down asset purchases.

Some though, including economist Mohamed El-Erian, think the event will offer little direction.

But Lauren Goodwin, economist and portfolio strategist at New York Life Investments, believes the Fed may continue its slow and steady move towards tapering asset purchases.

“Assuming two more strong jobs reports – four strong reports make a trend – tapering on purchases may begin in November or December, slightly earlier than our previous base case of January,” she said in a note on Wednesday. “Market participants are well prepared.”

Stocks have been scaling new highs despite the surge in the spread of the Delta variant. On Tuesday, major indexes closed at record highs, following the full approval of a COVID-19 vaccine a day earlier.

US bond yields fell slightly on Wednesday, with the key 10-year US Treasury yield slightly lower at 1.294%. Yields move inversely to prices.

Oil prices surged following a deadly fire on a Mexican offshore oil rig.

West Texas Intermediate crude rose 0.71% to $68.02 per barrel. Brent crude, oil’s international benchmark, gained 0.89%, to $71.68 per barrel.

Gold slipped 0.33% to $1,796.19 per ounce.

Bitcoin slipped to $47,853.70 after briefly breaching the $50,000-level.

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