US stocks rally as investors weigh stalling retail sales and inflation guidance

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE)
Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.

  • Stocks rose Friday even as April retail sales stalled from last month’s jump
  • Fed officials this week have been assuring investors that monetary policy will remain support for economic recovery.
  • Stocks were on course to rise for a second straight session.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

US stocks rose Friday, remaining on higher ground following flat monthly retail sales as investors appeared to lock into assurances by Federal Reserve officials that they will stick with monetary policies that support economic recovery.

All three of Wall Street’s benchmark indexes were on track to build on Thursday’s gains that snapped a three-session losing streak. Advances for stocks Friday came even after the Commerce Department said retail sales in April were virtually unchanged from the previous month. The print missed the estimated 1% increase in sales from economists surveyed by Bloomberg.

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

Retail sales boomed in March in part as Americans spent stimulus money sent to them by the government in an effort to help the economy continue improving after last year’s COVID-induced recession.

The miss in retail sales appeared to be offset by comments made Friday by Cleveland Fed Bank President Loretta Mester who said in Bloomberg Television on Friday that monetary policy is in a “good place” as officials still work on improving employment levels.

Her view on leaving policy where is it for now followed comments this week by Federal Reserve Governor Christopher Waller, Fed Governor Lael Brainard and Fed Vice Chairman Richard Clarida who said the central bank will look past likely transitory inflation pressures and stick with near-zero interest rates to aid the world’s largest economy.

Around the markets, Coinbase shares rose following the crypto exchange’s first-quarter results, and as the company said it will soon add dogecoin to its roster of digital currencies to trade.

Gold rose to $1,835 per ounce. Long-dated US treasury yields fell, with the 10-year yield at 1.632%.

Oil prices rose. West Texas Intermediate crude picked up 0.8% to $64.31 per barrel. Brent crude, oil’s international benchmark, climbed 1.3% to $67.89 per barrel.

Bitcoin rose 1.3% to $50, 383.

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Dow plummets 472 points on inflation fears as tech stocks whipsaw

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  • Inflation fears drove a choppy trading session in stocks on Tuesday as the Dow Jones plummeted more nearly 500 points.
  • The tech-heavy Nasdaq 100 started the day down by more than 2% before it briefly reversed all losses and turned green.
  • Fueling a surge in inflation expectations has been the actual surge in commodities like lumber, oil, and copper.
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Stocks were volatile on Tuesday as fears of rising inflation persisted among investors. The Nasdaq initially fell more than 2% before briefly turning positive, while the Dow Jones fell more than 500 points before paring some losses.

Fueling the surge in inflation expectations has been the actual surge in commodity prices, such as lumber, oil, and copper.

This week’s stock market decline hit high-flying tech stocks the most, with shares of Tesla down as much as 13% since the start of the week. Cathie Wood’s ARK Invest flagship ETF was also being sold heavily by investors, as it fell 10% since Monday.

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

Virgin Galactic, the pre-revenue space tourism company that seeks to launch paying customers into space, fell as much as 21% after its first-quarter earnings report revealed an uncertain flight schedule as it deals with maintenance issues for its spaceship.

Palantir initially fell as much as 9% after its first-quarter earnings report, but went onto reverse those losses and rise by as much as 9%. The company also said it will accept bitcoin as a form of payment and was weighing adding it to its balance sheet.

The price of dogecoin briefly surged as much as 20% after Tesla CEO Elon Musk ran a poll on Twitter to see if the electric vehicle manufacturer should accept the meme-inspired cryptocurrency as a form of payment. Tesla currently accepts bitcoin as payment for its products.

Roblox jumped as much as 18% after it reported mixed earnings results in its first report as a public company. The stock erased all of its losses for the month of May and reached its highest levels since late April.

Novavax extended its two-day decline to as much as 31% after it delayed seeking emergency approval for its COVID-19 vaccine.

Oil prices were higher. West Texas Intermediate crude jumped 0.4%, to $65.35 per barrel. Brent crude, oil’s international benchmark, dropped by 0.4%, to $68.60 per barrel.

Gold was flat on Tuesday at $1,837.30 per ounce.

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Nasdaq tumbles 2% as inflation fears continue tech-fueled market sell-off

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Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange shortly before the closing bell as the market takes a significant dip in New York, U.S., February 25, 2020.


US tech stocks continued their decline on Tuesday as fears of rising inflation persisted among investors. The Nasdaq fell more than 2% on Tuesday, adding on to its Monday decline of 2.55%.

Fueling the surge in inflation expectations has been the actual surge in commodity prices, such as lumber, oil, and copper.

This week’s stock market decline hit high-flying tech stocks the most, with shares of Tesla down as much as 13% since the start of the week. Cathie Wood’s ARK Invest flagship ETF was also being sold heavily by investors, as it fell 10% since Monday.

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

Virgin Galactic, the pre-revenue space tourism company that seeks to launch paying customers into space, fell as much as 21% after its first-quarter earnings report revealed an uncertain flight schedule as it deals with maintenance issues for its spaceship.

Palantir fell as much as 9% after its first-quarter earnings report failed to impress investors. And decline auto sales in China for Tesla led to a sharp decline in the stock on Tuesday.

The price of dogecoin briefly surged as much as 20% after Tesla CEO Elon Musk ran a poll on Twitter to see if the electric vehicle manufacturer should accept the meme-inspired cryptocurrency as a form of payment. Tesla currently accepts bitcoin as payment for its products.

Oil prices were lower. West Texas Intermediate crude fell 1.4%, to $63.99 per barrel. Brent crude, oil’s international benchmark, dropped by 1.3%, to $67.42 per barrel.

Gold fell 0.7%, to $1,825.90 per ounce.

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Dow, S&P 500 close at record highs after dismal jobs report gives Fed more breathing room

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  • The Dow Jones and S&P 500 closed at record highs on Friday after a weak April jobs report gave the Federal Reserve breathing room to continue with its easy monetary policies.
  • April saw an addition of 266,000 jobs, well below the estimates forecast of 1 million.
  • The April jobs report represented the worst miss since 1998.

The Dow Jones and S&P 500 closed at record highs on Friday after a weak April jobs report led to investors bidding up popular stay-at-home stocks that have performed well during the pandemic. The Nasdaq led the markets higher, but failed to reach new records.

April saw an addition of 266,000 jobs, well below the estimated forecast of 1 million. Unemployment rose to 6.1% from 6.0%. Economists had expected the rate to fall to 5.8%. The jobs report represented the worst miss since 1998.

The report likely gave the Federal Reserve more breathing room in continuing with its easy monetary policies, with regards to keeping interest rates low and its $120 billion monthly bond purchases.

While the Nasdaq 100 jumped following the release of the April jobs report, the Dow Jones moved lower as cyclical stocks tied to a reopened economy were out of favor.

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

Square jumped 6% following its first-quarter earnings report, which surpassed analyst estimates. The company saw its bitcoin revenue jump 1,000% to $3.5 billion, and disclosed that it’s the third-largest corporate holder of the cryptocurrency.

The surge in bitcoin interest has led to banks opening up new business divisions to gain exposure. A report said Citi is planning to launch its own crypto trading services, and Goldman is also launching a cryptocurrency trading desk.

A bitcoin ETF launched three weeks ago has already attracted $832 million in assets under management, as the crypto craze continues.

Since the announcement of divorce between Bill and Melinda Gates, more than $5 billion worth of stocks have been transferred to Melinda from Bill Gates’ Cascade Investment holding company.

Tilray jumped 10% on a double upgrade from Jefferies, which said its merger with Aphria was a “perfect” match.

Oil prices rose modestly. West Texas Intermediate crude was up 0.05%, to $64.73 per barrel. Brent crude, oil’s international benchmark, increased by 0.01%, to $68.10 per barrel.

Gold jumped to its highest price since February, rising as much as 1.5%, to $1,842.59 per ounce

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S&P 500 hits record high after bad April jobs-report miss dampens inflation fears

A trader works on the floor at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., March 4, 2020. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid
A trader works on the floor at the NYSE in New York

  • Tech stocks jumped on Friday after a weak April jobs report led to a rally in stay-at-home stocks.
  • April saw an addition of 266,000 jobs, well below the estimates forecast of 1 million.
  • The April jobs report represented the worst miss since 1998.

Technology stocks soared on Friday and the S&P 500 hit a record high after a weak April jobs report led to investors bidding up popular stay-at-home stocks that have performed well during the pandemic.

April saw an addition of 266,000 jobs, well below the estimated forecast of 1 million. Unemployment rose to 6.1% from 6.0%. Economists had expected the rate to fall to 5.8%. The jobs report represented the worst miss since 1998.

The report likely gave some credence to the Fed’s wait and see approach with regards to raising interest rates and whether rising inflation is transitory or not.

While the Nasdaq 100 jumped following the release of the April jobs report, the Dow Jones moved lower as cyclical stocks tied to a reopened economy were out of favor.

Here’s where US indexes stood at 10:50 a.m. ET on Friday:

Square jumped 6% following its first-quarter earnings report, which surpassed analyst estimates. The company saw its bitcoin revenue jump 1,000% to $3.5 billion, and disclosed that it’s the third-largest corporate holder of the cryptocurrency.

The surge in bitcoin interest has led to banks opening up new business divisions to gain exposure. A report said Citi is planning to launch its own crypto trading services, and Goldman is also launching a cryptocurrency trading desk.

Since the announcement of divorce between Bill and Melinda Gates, more than $5 billion worth of stocks have been transferred to Melinda from Bill Gates’ Cascade Investment holding company.

Oil prices were lower. West Texas Intermediate crude fell 0.7%, to $64.29 per barrel. Brent crude, oil’s international benchmark, dropped by 0.6%, to $67.66 per barrel.

Gold jumped 0.8%, to $1,831.20 per ounce.

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Dow soars 318 points to record high as investors weigh new economic-recovery data

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Traders work on the floor at the New York Stock Exchange.

  • The Dow Jones Industrial Average pushed to a record high on Thursday.
  • Stocks found support as fewer-than-expected Americans filed for jobless benefits.
  • Home Depot, P&G and Apple were all up, helping the Dow push to fresh highs.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average notched a new record high Thursday as stocks pegged to the reopening of the economy got a boost from new labor-market data.

The blue-chips index pushed higher with retailer Home Depot and consumer products giant Procter & Gamble among the best performing shares. Companies with exposure to economic recovery have largely advanced this year on the back of data showing the world’s largest economy is improving after the recession brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Labor Department on Thursday said jobless claims totaled an unadjusted level of 498,000 last week. That was less than the 538,000 claims expected, on average, by economists surveyed by Bloomberg. The reading marked a new low for the pandemic era and was the fourth consecutive weekly decline. The April jobs report due Friday could show US payrolls jumped to 938,000, according to an Econoday estimate.

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

Apple and Microsoft shrugged off earlier losses, aiding the Dow Jones Industrial Average.

The tech-heavy Nasdaq ended higher, though was in the red for most of the day.

Hilary Kramer, chief investment officer at Kramer Capital Research, noted that tech stocks are still struggling even as borrowing costs as implied by the 10-year Treasury yield have fallen below 1.6% after hitting 14-months highs above 1.7% earlier this year.

Nasdaq “valuations are completely out of whack with where we are with Main Street,” she told Insider on Thursday. “We have help-wanted signs everywhere from restaurants to mechanics shops … and what’s going to happen is people are going to stop spending.” She added that these pressures are being pulled forward to put the squeeze on tech stocks.

Around the markets, Etsy shares tumbled to five-month lows after the online marketplace said it expects quarterly sales on its platform to slow.

Peloton’s 15% sell-off following a treadmill recall has created a buying opportunity, according to Credit Suisse.

Gold rose 1.6% to $1,814.07 per ounce. Long-dated US treasury yields fell, with the 10-year yield at 1.561%.

Oil prices declined. West Texas Intermediate crude fell 1.2% to $64.83 per barrel. Brent crude, oil’s international benchmark, lost 1.2% to $68.11 per barrel.

Bitcoin fell 3% to $55,475.

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Dow jumps 238 points as Fed’s Williams says strong economic growth not yet enough to impact monetary policy

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  • US stocks were mixed on Monday, with the Nasdaq 100 falling while the S&P 500 and Dow Jones rallied higher.
  • The Fed’s John Williams said on Monday that the strengthening economy is not yet enough to impact monetary policy.
  • Investors are awaiting another big week of earnings, as PayPal, General Motors, and Etsy are set to report.
  • Sign up here for our daily newsletter, 10 Things Before the Opening Bell.

US stocks were mixed on Monday, with the S&P 500 and Dow Jones rising as the Nasdaq 100 fell.

The mixed trading came amid comments from the Fed’s John Williams, who said accelerating economic growth is not yet enough to impact the Fed’s easy monetary policy.

“It’s clear there is a big shift in the economy, and the outlook has improved,” Williams said at a virtual event. “But let me emphasize that the data and conditions we are seeing now are not nearly enough for the FOMC to shift its monetary policy stance.”

The Fed is currently buying $120 billion of bonds per month and has set its Fed Funds Rate at near zero. Investors are also anticipating another big week of corporate earnings, as PayPal, General Motors, and Etsy are set to report later this week.

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

Investors turned their focus to Berkshire Hathaway’s Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger over the weekend as the company held its annual shareholders meeting virtually.

Buffett and Munger cautioned investors against speculative investing, said that trimming their positions in Apple and Costco was a mistake, and harpooned Robinhood, SPACs, and cryptocurrencies throughout the meeting.

Munger’s criticism of cryptocurrencies didn’t stop investors from bidding up ethereum and bitcoin over the weekend. Ethereum surged to record highs above the $3,000 level, and Ark Invest laid out 3 reasons why the cryptocurrency is surging.

Buffett confirmed that Greg Abel will be his likely successor at Berkshire Hathaway. Abel currently leads Berkshire Hathaway’s energy business. Abel has long been seen by investors as a strong contender to lead the $631 billion conglomerate.

Fidelity cut its implied valuation of Ant Group in half to $144 billion, according to regulatory filings. The mutual fund giant had previously valued its Ant Group stake at $295 billion, but increased regulatory scrutiny from China led to a canceled IPO and a depressed valuation.

Oil prices were higher. West Texas Intermediate crude rose 1.34%, to $64.43 per barrel. Brent crude, oil’s international benchmark, jumped by 1.09%, to $67.49 per barrel.

Gold jumped 1.3%, to $1,791.30 ounce.

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US stocks edge higher as investors brace for another wave of corporate earnings

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US stocks edged higher on Monday as investors anticipate another flood of first-quarter earnings that are set to be released this week. Earnings reports from Pfizer, General Motors, PayPal and Etsy among others will be released throughout this week.

Mega-cap technology companies headlined last week’s earnings announcements, with Tesla, Apple, Alphabet, and Amazon all beating earnings expectations.

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

Investors turned their focus to Berkshire Hathaway’s Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger over the weekend as the company held its annual shareholders meeting virtually.

Buffett and Munger cautioned investors against speculative investing, said that trimming their positions in Apple and Costco was a mistake, and harpooned Robinhood, SPACs, and cryptocurrencies throughout the meeting.

Munger’s criticism of cryptocurrencies didn’t stop investors from bidding up ethereum and bitcoin over the weekend. Ethereum surged to record highs above the $3,000 level.

Buffett confirmed that Greg Abel will be his likely successor at Berkshire Hathaway. Abel currently leads Berkshire Hathaway’s energy business.

Fidelity cut its implied valuation of Ant Group in half to $144 billion, according to regulatory filings. The mutual fund giant had previously valued its Ant Group stake at $295 billion, but increased regulatory scrutiny from China led to a canceled IPO and a depressed valuation.

Oil prices were higher. West Texas Intermediate crude rose 0.5%, to $63.86 per barrel. Brent crude, oil’s international benchmark, jumped by 0.25%, to $66.92 per barrel.

Gold jumped 2%, to $1,788.80 per ounce.

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A conservative ETF designed to boycott ‘hostile’ companies like Disney and Nike that support the ‘liberal agenda’ has beaten the broader market since Biden took office

Bald Eagle

An exchange-traded fund designed to track the broader market while also boycotting companies that outwardly support left-wing causes has beaten the S&P 500 since president Joe Biden took office.

The American Conservative Values ETF ($ACVF) has gained 9.1% since January 20, slightly outperforming the S&P 500’s 8.7% gain. It has about $7 million in assets under management, according to Bloomberg data.

The fund has a basket of large cap US equities, but also boycotts “hostile” companies that are deemed to be too politically active and in support of “the liberal agenda.”

Among the list of boycotted companies are Twitter, Nike, Disney, Goldman Sachs, Amazon, Facebook, Google, and Delta Airlines.

Bill Flaig, founder and CEO of Ridgeline Research, the investment advisor to the American Conservative Values ETF, told Insider he launched the fund in late October because he wanted to give politically conservative investors something they could feel good about investing in and not feel that “their dollars are going to the worst offending, most egregious liberal companies.”

“Our goal is to balance the advocacy of boycotting and still maintain predictable, large cap performance,” Flaig said.

The ACFV website states the investment thesis of the fund: “Our ETF is based on the conviction that politically active companies negatively impact their shareholder returns, as well as supporting issues and causes which conflict with our conservative political beliefs and values.”

Flaig told Insider that he thinks companies that are participating in political activities are misallocating shareholder resources and not maximizing shareholder value. He said this could even apply to companies that are too engaged in conservative political activities, but the fund is focused on catering specifically to conservative investors.

Ridgeline Research doesn’t have explicit numerical data that supports the thesis that politically active companies negatively impact shareholder returns.

“We don’t have a historical back test for that, and it’s hard to prove because a company could still be doing well that’s allocating shareholder resources, they just would be doing better if they hadn’t done it,” Flaig said.

The fund comes as a growing number of corporations begin to engage in political activities or speak on partisan issues. After Georgia signed a new voting bill into law that changed nearly all aspects of voting and elections in the state, Coca-Cola said in a statement that they were “disappointed in the outcome of the Georgia voting legislation.” Meanwhile Delta CEO Ed Basitan said the bill was “unacceptable and does not match Delta’s values.”

Flaig said the political engagement from Delta and Coke was taking away from shareholder values.

“I can’t see how it would have helped their shareholders’ value, or their businesses actually. And I think they did get internal pushback and pushback from their boards, and we did see them backtrack in a certain sense. So I think that kind of illustrates the danger of companies that are overly political,” he said.

Flaig added that conservatives are more “quiet”, and he thinks that corporate America has come to the conclusion it can “pander progressive customers without alienating their conservative customers.” He wants the American Conservative Values ETF to be a place for conservative investors to park their money with peace of mind that they are not supporting the “worst of the worst” and the “most hostile” companies.

One of the most important issues to Ridgeline is protecting first and second amendment rights.

He said tech companies including Apple, Google, and Facebook have been “hostile to conservatives,” and free speech, though he admitted it’s difficult to quantify that, and a lot of the decisions on whether a company is too liberal to be in the fund are subjective.

One of the more quantifiable measures of “hostility” is political contributions by companies and senior employees to liberal causes, charities, candidates, and advocacy groups. In the fund’s SEC filings, Ridgeline lists Planned Parenthood, the Center for American Progress, and the Courage to Change PAC as examples of “liberal advocacy groups.

The fund’s top holding is Microsoft, with a 6.5% weight. Flaig said that although Microsoft is not “inherently conservative,” it’s not the “worst offender of the larger technology companies.” Microsoft is the second largest company in the S&P 500.

“Through the lens of delivering our investment objective, we can’t boycott every single technology company and maintain predictable performance to the S&P 500. So we do own companies like Microsoft that have historically been hostile to conservative values,” he said.

Flaig added that it would be ideal if the ETF’s advocacy changed the behavior of the corporations, but that is a secondary objective of the fund.

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Tech stocks slide with new earnings reports coming into focus

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Traders work at the New York Stock Exchange.

  • The Nasdaq Composite slipped from record-highs Tuesday.
  • The S&P 500 was close to a record and the Dow industrials advanced.
  • Tesla shares were under pressure and Microsoft was set to report after the bell.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Tech stocks pulled back Tuesday as investors prepared for the next round of quarterly earnings reports, leaving the US stock market fighting to stay close to record highs.

The Nasdaq Composite was slightly lower after closing at a record high on Monday and the S&P 500 was edged up after also closing at a new record high Monday. Parcel delivery company UPS was among the those that turned in stronger-than-expected results for its first quarter.

But from the tech front, Tesla shares dropped following the release of the electric car maker first-quarter earnings report. The shares came under pressure from the lack of annual vehicle-delivery guidance. Its financial results met expectations.

Here’s where US indexes stood at 4 p.m. on Tuesday:

Microsoft and Google’s parent Alphabet will be in focus after the bell Tuesday with quarterly results from the tech heavyweights.

Overall for earnings, Wall Street so far is seeing “pretty good growth year over year but that’s against an easy base to beat, so to speak,” Shawn Cruz, senior market strategist at TD Ameritrade, told Insider.

“What we’re hearing from some of these companies on the guidance front is that they’re actually not expecting margin growth, especially gross margin growth, to be very robust this year even though we’re expected to have a pretty strong recovery in the economy as a whole and I think that is really causing some concerns for investors,” he said.

Looking ahead to Wednesday, the Federal Reserve will conclude its meeting with a policy statement.

Around the markets, UBS took a $744 million hit from the collapse of Archegos in the first quarter.

HSBC posted a 79% jump in profit for the first quarter.

Gold fell 0.2% to $1,775 per ounce. Long-dated US treasury yields rose, with the 10-year yield at 1.622%.

Oil prices rose. West Texas Intermediate crude rose 2% to $63.22 per barrel. Brent crude, oil’s international benchmark, picked up 0.4% to $66.73 per barrel.

Bitcoin rose to $54,806.

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