US stocks slip ahead of key Fed policy meeting

Jerome Powell Senate Banking testimony
Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell adjusts his tie as he arrives to testify before a Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee hearing, July 15, 2021.

  • US stocks edged lower on Monday, extending last week’s gains ahead of a key Fed meeting.
  • The Federal Reserve is scheduled to meet Tuesday and Wednesday and could quicken the speed of its tapering program.
  • Apple is less than 1% away from hitting a $3 trillion valuation milestone in early Monday trades.

US stocks slipped on Monday, opening the week lower after last week’s gains ahead of a key Federal Reserve policy meeting this Tuesday and Wednesday.

Investors will be watching whether Fed Chairman Jerome Powell announces a quickening of its monthly bond purchase tapering program, as it seeks to combat an ongoing rise in inflation. The Fed could also set investor expectations as to when it may begin to raise interest rates in 2022. 

Apple is on the verge of becoming the first company ever to hit a $3 trillion valuation on Monday. The iPhone maker’s stock price needs to hit $182.85 for the $3 trillion market valuation to be reached. Shares traded at $181.72 in early Monday trades.

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

JPMorgan said Apple’s upcoming budged 5G iPhone SE will help accelerate sales in 2022 and drive 17% upside in the stock to $210. The bank reiterated Apple as one of its top picks in a Monday note.

Arena Pharmaceuticals soared 97% on Monday after Pfizer agreed to acquire the biotechnology firm for $6.7 billion, or $100 per share. Arena Pharmaceuticals develops CAR-T technology and is developing a drug for ulcerative colitis.

They mayor of Miami is planning to take some of his 401(k) retirement savings in bitcoin as he continues to promote the city as a cryptocurrency haven. 

West Texas Intermediate crude oil dropped as much as 0.47% to $71.33 per barrel. Brent crude, oil’s international benchmark, fell as much as 0.52% to $74.76 per barrel.

Gold rose as much as 0.07% to $1,786.00 per ounce.

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US stocks end 3-day win streak as investors reassess impact Omicron impact amid new restrictions

A trader sits in front of a computer monitor on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.
Trader Leon Montana works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange stocks NYSE worry

  • US stocks were mostly lower on Thursday, ending a three-day rally amid new virus restrictions.
  • The UK has imposed a new mask-wearing policy indoors as it expects a big surge in cases.
  • Meanwhile, weekly jobless claims fell to 184,000 last week, hitting its lowest level in decades.

US stocks finished mostly lower on Thursday, ending a 3-day win streak as investors digest new virus restrictions and weekly jobless claims data.

Seeking to prevent a surge in daily COVID-19 cases amid the spread of the Omicron variant, the UK is imposing new mask wearing restrictions in certain indoor settings, and is asking employees to work from home when possible.

Early studies suggest that the Omicron variant is much more transmissible than the Delta variant, and that three doses of Pfizer’s vaccine provide protection from the disease.

Weekly jobless claims were below economist estimates on Thursday, with 184,000 claims representing the lowest level since 1969. Continuing claims rose to 1.99 million for the week that ended November 27, missing estimates.

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

As cryptocurrency continues to grow in popularity, users of the ethereum blockchain are growing infuriated by the high transaction fees of ether. The problem could derail ether’s leading status and developers are rushing to fix the issue. Ether’s loss is a win for other cryptos, as its helping boost boost ether rivals like solana and avalanche. 

Ark Invest’s Cathie Wood believes bitcoin has a lot more gas left in its tank, as growing allocations by institutional investors could drive its price to more than $500,000. Wood also defended Ark Invest’s strategy of investing in innovative growth stocks. 

This year has been a wild ride for cryptocurrencies, including metaverse tokens and digital art that is valued in cryptos like ether. These are the 10 best performing crypto assets of 2021.

MicroStrategy is buying the dip in bitcoin, having added 1,434 bitcoin to its holdings over the past week. The average price paid was $57,477. Those purchases were underwater on Thursday, with bitcoin trading below $50,000.

All eyes were on original meme stock GameStop on Thursday, after the video game retailer announce third-quarter earnings that beat revenue estimates but missed profit estimates. The company disclosed an ongoing inquiry by the SEC, and the stock traded lower by about 3%.

Lumber prices rose 5% on Thursday, jumping above the $1,000 price level as demand for the essential building material remains steady amid ongoing supply chain issues. 

West Texas Intermediate crude oil dropped as much as 0.90% to $71.71 per barrel. Brent crude, oil’s international benchmark, fell as much as 0.91% to $75.13 per barrel.

Gold fell as much as 0.46% to $1,777.30 per ounce.

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US stocks slip after 3-day rally as investors assess new virus restrictions and jobless claims

Stock market Dow Jones trader New York
Stocks have risen sharply over the last year, helping the Dow Jones finally break the 36,000 barrier.

  • US stocks stumbled on Thursday as investors digest new virus restrictions and jobless claims data.
  • The UK has imposed a new mask-wearing policy indoors as it expects a big surge in cases.
  • Weekly jobless claims fell to 184,000 last week, hitting its lowest level in decades.

US stocks fell on Thursday after a 3-day rally erased last week’s losses as investors digest new virus restrictions out of the UK and jobless claims data.

Seeking to prevent a surge in daily COVID-19 cases amid the spread of the Omicron variant, the UK is imposing new mask wearing restrictions in certain indoor settings, and is asking employees to work from home when possible.

Early studies suggest that the Omicron variant is much more transmissible than the Delta variant, and that three doses of Pfizer’s vaccine provide protection from the disease.

Weekly jobless claims were below economist estimates on Thursday, with 184,000 claims representing the lowest level since 1969. Continuing claims rose to 1.99 million for the week that ended November 27, missing estimates.

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

As cryptocurrency continues to grow in popularity, users of the ethereum blockchain are growing infuriated by the high transaction fees of ether. The problem could derail ether’s leading status and developers are rushing to fix the issue. Ether’s loss is a win for other cryptos, as its helping boost boost ether rivals like solana and avalanche. 

Ark Invest’s Cathie Wood believes bitcoin has a lot more gas left in its tank, as growing allocations by institutional investors could drive its price to more than $500,000.

This year has been a wild ride for cryptocurrencies, including metaverse tokens and digital art that is valued in cryptos like ether. These are the 10 best performing crypto assets of 2021. 

All eyes are on original meme stock GameStop on Thursday, after the video game retailer announce third-quarter earnings that beat revenue estimates but missed profit estimates. The company disclosed an ongoing inquiry by the SEC, and the stock traded lower by about 3%.

West Texas Intermediate crude oil dropped as much as 0.90% to $71.71 per barrel. Brent crude, oil’s international benchmark, fell as much as 0.91% to $75.13 per barrel.

Gold fell as much as 0.46% to $1,777.30 per ounce.

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Nasdaq soars 3% as US stocks erase nearly all Omicron losses

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

  • US stocks soared on Tuesday as fears surrounding the Omicron virus faded.
  • Early data from GlaxoSmithKline shows that its antiviral drug retains activity against the variant.
  • Oil prices surged on Tuesday as investors now see little chance of Omicron disrupting the economic recovery from the pandemic.

US stocks surged on Tuesday, with the Nasdaq jumping over 3% and recovering all of last week’s losses as fears of the COVID-19 Omicron variant begin to recede to the back of investors’ minds.

Early data from GlaxoSmithKline is likely helping ease the concerns, as the drug maker said its antiviral treatment retains in vitro activity against the full Omicron spike protein. That data lines up with prior comments from Merck and Pfizer, with both saying last week they expect their antiviral pill to work against all COVID-19 variants.

With Omicron now seen as having a diminishing chance of disrupting the economic recovery from a global pandemic, oil prices surged about 2%. 

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

Cathie Wood’s Ark Invest is having a tough year, as most of its fund strategies are in a bear market even as the broader stock market is less than 1% away from record highs. Six of Ark’s eight funds are in the red, with its flagship Disruptive Innovation fund down 24% year-to-date.

The recovery in cryptocurrencies was mixed on Tuesday following their steep weekend sell-off. Bitcoin is barely above $50,000 but certain metaverse tokens are surging higher, including Terra and Polkadot.

Katie Stockton of Fairlead Strategies urged caution to cryptocurrency investors that may want to buy the current dip, as she sees the potential for more downside ahead based on several technical indicators.

Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez isn’t participating in the crypto volatility, as she explained earlier this week that she doesn’t own bitcoin because she wants to be an unbiased lawmaker.

The boom in cryptocurrencies has fueled a surge in NFT sales this year, with total volumes surpassing $12 billion, and weekly sales hitting $293 million last week. These were last week’s top 5 digital art collection sales.

Shares of MongoDB soared as much as 21% on Tuesday after the cloud provider surpassed third-quarter earnings estimates. The company saw its Atlas revenue surge 84% as Coinbase migrates to its platform.

West Texas Intermediate crude oil jumped as much as 3.15% to $71.68 per barrel. Brent crude, oil’s international benchmark, rose as much as 2.82% to $75.14 per barrel.

Gold rose as much as 0.38% to $1,786.30 per ounce.

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US stocks edge higher as investors struggle against Omicron volatility

A trader sits in front of a computer monitor on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.
Trader Leon Montana works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange stocks NYSE worry

  • US stocks edged slightly higher on Thursday as investors continue to grapple with the Omicron variant.
  • Adding to market concerns is Fed Chair Jerome Powell suggestion of tapering its bond purchases at a faster pace. 
  • A report on a drop in demand for Apple’s iPhones this holiday season added to the volatility.

US stocks traded slightly higher on Thursday as concerns surrounding the Omicron virus and hawkish comments from Fed Chairman Jerome Powell weighed on investors.

On Wednesday, the CDC said it identified the first case of the COVID-19 Omicron variant in the US, which it found in California. With little known about how transmissible and deadly the new variant is, and whether current vaccines protect against it, investors are selling first and asking questions later.

Adding to the volatility on Thursday was a report from Bloomberg that Apple is experiencing a decline in demand for its iPhones this holiday season. Shares of Apple traded down more than 3% in early Thursday trades.

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

The metaverse investment theme is growing in popularity, with Ark Invest’s Cathie Wood calling it a multi-trillion dollar opportunity that will infiltrate every sector.

Sales of virtual land in the metaverse hit $106 million last week, with The Sandbox platform taking a big lead from other NFT platforms. 

Insider sales have soared to a record high this year, with Elon Musk selling more than $10 billion of Tesla last month. Jeff Bezos is also selling Amazon stock, and Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella recently sold half of his stake in the software giant.

Fidelity is launching its own spot bitcoin ETF in Canada this week, even as the SEC continues to only favor futures-based bitcoin ETFs.

West Texas Intermediate crude oil fell as much as 1.95% to $64.29 per barrel. Brent crude, oil’s international benchmark, dropped as much as 1.89% to $67.57 per barrel.

Gold fell as much as 0.29% to $1,779.10 per ounce.

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US stocks bounce back from sell-off as panic over Omicron variant eases

Stock market Dow Jones trader New York
Stocks have risen sharply over the last year, helping the Dow Jones finally break the 36,000 barrier.

  • US stocks jumped above 1% on Monday, recovering less than half of Friday’s steep losses.
  • The move higher comes as investors assess the ongoing risk of the Omicron COVID-19 variant.
  • Pfizer and Moderna are testing the effectiveness of its vaccines against Omicron, as well as new vaccines specifically targeting the variant.

US stocks gained about 1% on Monday, recovering some of the losses seen during last Friday’s shortened holiday trading session.

The 2% slide in stocks on Friday was sparked by the identification of a new COVID-19 variant, Omicron, which is thought to be more contagious than prior virus mutations like Delta. 

But investors are reassessing the risks on Monday after vaccine makers Moderna and Pfizer said they are testing the effectiveness of current vaccines against the new strain, as well as new vaccines specifically targeting the Omicron variant. If needed, new vaccine formulations could be ready by early 2022, according to Moderna.

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

Oil prices are following the path of stocks and rebounding sharply in Monday trades following Friday’s rout, as concerns of potential country lockdowns to combat the Omicron variant seem less likely as early reports suggest only mild symptoms from the new variant.

One investor who sees a bullish setup for equities is Bill Ackman, who said on Twitter that if Omicron symptoms are indeed mild, it would be bullish for stocks and bearish for bonds. 

Shares of Moderna jumped 10% on Monday and extended its two-day gain to more than 30% as it revealed its own vaccine plans for the Omicron variant. The surge helped stem a 45% loss from its record high of nearly $500. 

AMC Entertainment jumped about 2% on Monday after the movie theater chain said it would offer 86,000 NFTs to early ticket buyers of the upcoming Spider-Man movie.

West Texas Intermediate crude oil jumped as much as 6.74% to $72.74 per barrel. Brent crude, oil’s international benchmark, rose as much as 5.65% to $76.83 per barrel.

Gold rose as much as 0.13% to $1,787.90 per ounce.

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Dow falls 700 points as new coronavirus variant threatens to derail global economic recovery

A trader sits in front of a computer monitor on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.
Stocks slid in post-Thanksgiving trade Friday.

  • Dow industrials tumbled 700 points as a new coronavirus variant spreads from South Africa. 
  • Travel restrictions are being put in place in the EU, UK, Japan and other places worldwide. 
  • The WHO says the B.1.1.529 strain has a “large number of mutations.”

US stocks sank Friday as investors returning from the Thanksgiving holiday worried about the economic recovery because of rapidly rising cases of COVID from a new strain identified in South Africa. 

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell by 700 points, tumbling alongside the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq in what will be a shortened session. Trading will close at 1 p.m. Eastern following Thursday’s holiday closure. 

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

Investors returned from their break to see travel restrictions being put in place worldwide because of a variant of coronavirus called B.1.1.529 that appears to be spreading from South Africa.  The World Health Organization on Friday held a special meeting, saying not much is known about the variant yet. 

“What we do know is that this variant has a large number of mutations. And the concern is that when you have so many mutations, it can have an impact on how the virus behaves,” said Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove, the WHO’s technical lead on COVID-19, in a live streamed update

The European Union, the UK, Japan and other countries have issued travel restrictions from South Africa as well as from neighboring countries, sending travel stocks sliding.

Meanwhile, shares of vaccine makers and stay-at-home stock plays spiked

Around the markets, gold rose 0.9% to $1,804 per ounce. The 10-year yield dropped 11 basis points to 1.53%. 

Oil prices tumbled, with West Texas Intermediate crude off 5.6% at $74.11 per barrel.

Bitcoin fell by 7.4% to $54,616.55.

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US stocks end mixed as yields jump after Biden picks Jerome Powell to lead the Fed for a 2nd term

Joe Biden Jerome Powell
Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell listens as President Joe Biden nominates him for a second four-year term.

  • US stocks ended mixed on Monday after President Biden nominated Jerome Powell for a second term as Fed chairman.
  • Biden also nominated Fed governor Lael Brainard as vice chair of the Federal Reserve.
  • The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note climbed nearly 9 basis points to 1.625%, hitting tech stock particularly hard.

US stocks gave up gains to end mixed on Monday as Treasury yields jumped after President Joe Biden nominated Jerome Powell for a second term as chairman of the Federal Reserve.

The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note climbed nearly 9 basis points to 1.625%, hitting tech stock particularly hard.

Powell first became Fed chair in February 2018 and his current term was set to expire in February 2022. Investors were unsure if Biden would renominate Powell, or choose a more progressive candidate like Fed governor Lael Brainard.

“Chair Powell has provided steady leadership during an unprecedentedly challenging period, including the biggest economic downturn in modern history and attacks on the independence of the Federal Reserve,” the White House said. Brainard was ultimately nominated by Biden to serve as vice chair of the Federal Reserve.

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

“The nomination of Powell and Brainard suggest continuity at the Fed given that they have generally been in alignment when it comes to the embrace of the new framework. However, they will face a distinctly different economy in the years ahead than in the most recent ones,” Bank of America economist Michelle Meyer said.

The Fed will have to balance a continued rise in inflation with its continued goal of lowering the unemployment rate, Meyer’s added. 

Shares of Astra Space soared as much as 36% on Monday after the space company successfully reached orbit with its LV0007 rocket Friday night. The launch spurred a congratulations tweet from SpaceX founder Elon Musk. 

Tesla jumped as much as 6% on Monday after CEO Elon Musk tweeted that the Model S Plaid will probably launch in China in March 2022. China demand is seen as the linchpin the Tesla’s bull thesis, according to Wedbush. 

An ongoing rally in the crypto coin Avalanche means it’s neck-and-neck with dogecoin to become the 10th most valuable crypto by market cap. The alternative cryptocurrency has surged more than 50% since it announced a partnership with Deloitte last week. 

Even though ConstitutionDAO lost out on its bid to buy a rare copy of the US Constitution to Ken Griffin last week, the crowdfunding crypto collective is setting its eyes on another project to invest some of the tens of millions of dollars raised by the group. 

Scynexis has soared as much as 42% since Michael Burry’s Scion Asset Management revealed in a 13F filing last week a $1 million position in the biotech company.

West Texas Intermediate crude oil rose as much as 0.74% to $76.50 per barrel. Brent crude, oil’s international benchmark, jumped as much as 0.74% to $79.47 per barrel.

Gold fell as much as 2.52% to $1,805.00 per ounce.

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US stocks jump after Biden nominates Jerome Powell for 2nd term as Fed chair

Jerome Powell Senate Banking testimony
Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell.

  • US stocks jumped after President Biden nominated Jerome Powell for a second term as Fed chairman.
  • “Chair Powell has provided steady leadership during an unprecedentedly challenging period,” the White House said.
  • Biden also nominated Fed governor Lael Brainard as vice chair of the Federal Reserve.

US stocks moved higher on Monday after President Joe Biden nominated Jerome Powell for a second term as chairman of the Federal Reserve.

Powell first became Fed chair in February 2018 and his current term was set to expire in February 2022. Investors were unsure if Biden would renominate Powell, or choose a more progressive candidate like Fed governor Lael Brainard.

“Chair Powell has provided steady leadership during an unprecedentedly challenging period, including the biggest economic downturn in modern history and attacks on the independence of the Federal Reserve,” the White House said. Brainard was ultimately nominated by Biden to serve as vice chair of the Federal Reserve.

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

Shares of Astra Space soared as much as 36% on Monday after the space company successfully reached orbit with its LV0007 rocket Friday night. The launch spurred a congratulations tweet from SpaceX founder Elon Musk. 

An ongoing rally in the crypto coin Avalanche means it’s neck-and-neck with dogecoin to become the 10th most valuable crypto by market cap. The alternative cryptocurrency has surged more than 50% since it announced a partnership with Deloitte last week. 

Even though ConstitutionDAO lost out on its bid to buy a rare copy of the US Constitution to Ken Griffin last week, the crowdfunding crypto collective is setting its eyes on another project to invest some of the tens of millions of dollars raised by the group. 

West Texas Intermediate crude oil fell as much as 0.82% to $75.32 per barrel. Brent crude, oil’s international benchmark, fell as much as 0.80% to $78.26 per barrel.

Gold fell as much as 1.71% to $1,820.00 per ounce.

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US stocks fall as Treasury Secretary Yellen sounds new warning bell over debt ceiling deadline

Janet Yellen testifies before the House Finance Committee
Janet Yellen testifies before the House Finance Committee

  • US stocks traded lower on Wednesday as the US Treasury warned it will soon run out of money.
  • Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen told Congress on Tuesday the government will run out of money on December 15.
  • A previous debt ceiling showdown in early October helped add to investor concerns amid the September sell-off.

US stocks traded lower on Wednesday as the US Treasury warned Congress that it will soon run out of money unless a debt ceiling deal is struck.

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen told congress that she estimates the government will run out of money on December 15, an almost two-week extension from the previous estimated deadline of December 3.

The deadline will likely rise to top of mind for investors in the coming weeks as Democrats scramble to reach a deal and avert a government shutdown and default. An early October debt ceiling showdown only added to investor concerns amid a September sell-off in stocks.

Congress ultimately agreed to a short-term debt ceiling extension on a bi-partisan basis, but Republicans have signaled they will not vote to raise the debt ceiling this time around, putting pressure on Democrats to raise the debt ceiling on their own.

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

The mainstreaming of crypto continues, with the LA Staples Center set to change its name to Crypto.com in a $700 million deal.

The price of bitcoin stumbled in recent days, and technical analyst Katie Stockton of Fairlead Strategies sees a big test at the $58,000 support level. Below that level, and the popular cryptocurrency could drop to $53,000, according to Stockton.

Elon Musk continued to sell Tesla shares, with a recent filing showing the CEO sold another $973 million worth of the company as he pays taxes on profitable options.  

Rising prices are being felt in the UK, with a reported 4.2% surge in inflation last month. That represents the highest level in 10 years and bolstering that case for an interest rate hike from the Bank of England.

Rivian fell as much as 18% on Wednesday, marking the electric truck maker’s first down day since it went public at $78 per share last week. 

West Texas Intermediate crude oil fell as much as 3.80% to $77.69 per barrel. Brent crude, oil’s international benchmark, fell as much as 2.27% to $80.56 per barrel.

Gold jumped as much as 0.68% to $1,866.80 per ounce.

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