U.S. stocks rebounded to close firmly higher Tuesday as investors shrugged off hawkish remarks from Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell and continued to monitor the war in Ukraine.
The S&P 500 rose 1.1% to 4,511.81, and Dow Jones Industrial Average jumped more than 250 points, or about 0.7%, to 34,807.86. The Nasdaq Composite was up nearly 2% to 14,108.82. The moves come on the back of a choppy session Monday that saw all three indexes cap last week’s winning streak to close lower after Powell signaled the central bank was prepared to act more aggressively to rein in inflation. Meanwhile, the 10-year U.S. Treasury climbed to yield 2.372%.
The Fed’s top leader reiterated in comments at the National Association for Business Economics Monday that policymakers will lean into higher short-term interest rates “as needed” to mitigate fast-rising price levels, with a goal of bringing inflation back down to an annual pace of about 2% while maintaining low unemployment.
“We just experienced the first rate increase over which it promises to be many, many more,” Research Affiliates CEO Chris Brightman told Yahoo Finance Live on Tuesday. “Whether there is a 50 bps or a 25 bps increase next is not the point so much as that we’re going to see continued tightening all through this year and likely into at least the first half of 2023 — and where it stops, nobody knows, including the Fed.”
The tightening could bring the yield curve, the relationship between short- and long-term interest rates of fixed-income securities issued by the U.S. Treasury, closer to inverting, Brightman pointed out. An inverted yield curve, when the short-term rates exceed the long-term rates, has been a signal of a pending economic recession in the past.
The Fed is “going to tighten until something breaks,” Robert Schein, chief investment officer at Blanke Schein Wealth Management, told Yahoo Finance Live on Monday. “That’s either breaking the back of inflation or growth is going to slow.”
Powell’s comments come just a week after investors met the central bank’s long-anticipated move to lift its benchmark Federal Funds Rate by 0.25% (to a target range of 0.25% to 0.50%) with temporary relief after the bump came in on par with what market participants had expected.
Despite providing some clarity to traders who for months have waited for the Fed to take steps forward on tightening monetary conditions, geopolitical turmoil in Eastern Europe and its economic toll continue to muddy the bank’s path ahead in fighting inflation. The Fed is also tasked with beginning quantitative tightening, or rolling assets off its nearly $9 trillion balance sheet.
The CPI print is “not going to look kind,” Allianz Investment Management’s head of ETFs Johan Grahn told Yahoo Finance Live. “That will be the indicator that the Fed is going to hang their hat on.”
Elsewhere in markets, Tesla was in the spotlight on Tuesday as shares of the electric vehicle giant soared amid the opening of its Berlin Gigafactory and delivery of the first 30 Model Y cars made in Europe.
Shares of Tesla were up 7.9% to $993.98 a piece, notching the biggest pop in three weeks.
Russia’s war in Ukraine also continued to be front-and-center for investors. Kyiv has refused to surrender its heavily-attacked port city of Mariupol to Russian forces as the civilian death toll climbed. Energy and commodity prices spiked amid the latest developments on the crisis.
Officials in both countries have sporadically signaled a possible negotiation but attempts at talks have so far proven unsuccessful. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy warned recently that if discussions with Vladimir Putin failed, it could mean the start of a third world war.
4:00 p.m. ET: All three main indexes stage comeback as Wall Street shrugs off Fed comments
Here’s how Wall Street closed out Tuesday’s trading session:
S&P 500 (^GSPC): +50.63 (+1.13%) to 4,511.81
Dow (^DJI): +254.87 (+0.74%) to 34,807.86
Nasdaq (^IXIC): +270.36 (+1.95%) to 14,108.82
Crude (CL=F): -$0.82 (-0.73%) to $111.30 a barrel
Gold (GC=F): -$8.20 (-0.42%) to $1,921.30 per ounce
10-year Treasury (^TNX): +5.8 bps to yield 2.3730%
2:44 p.m. ET: Tesla gains on opening of Berlin Gigafactory, delivery of first Model Ys made in Europe
Shares of Tesla were up 6.3% to $979.04 a piece as of 2:43 p.m. ET, notching the biggest pop in three weeks.
The factory is expected to eventually produce 500,000 vehicles annually and employ 12,000 workers. The first Model Ys rolling off the new location will be the performance variant, costing 63,990 euros ($70,500) with a 514 km (320 miles) range. New orders from the plant start delivery in April, Tesla said.
“We view the opening of Giga Berlin as one of the biggest strategic endeavors for Tesla over the last decade and should further vault its market share within Europe over the coming years as more consumers aggressively head down the EV path,” Wedbush analyst Dan Ives said. “We cannot stress the production importance of Giga Berlin to the overall success of Tesla’s footprint in Europe and globally.”
1:55 p.m. ET: Meme-stock favorite GameStop stages biggest rally of 2022
Shares of GameStop (GME) surged as much as 29%, the most intraday since Aug. 24 amid an uptick in mentions of the meme stock on retail-focused platforms such as Reddit and Stocktwits.
The video game retailer was on pace for its sixth straight gain, which would mark the longest winning streak since May, according to Bloomberg data. The stock is trading above its 50-day moving average — a level it has not closed above in nearly four months
Meanwhile, short interest in the stock has surpassed 20% of float this week for the first time since June 2021, according to data from S3 Partners.
1:49 p.m. ET: French oil and gas giant TotalEnergies to exit Russian market
French oil major TotalEnergies further self-sanctioned Russian crude and refined oil products, announcing it will terminate all long-term contracts with Russia as soon as possible, and not later than end of 2022.
“Given the Worsening situation in Ukraine and the existence of alternative sources for supplying Europe, TotalEnergies has unilaterally decided to no longer enter into or renew contracts to purchase Russian oil and petroleum products, in order to halt all its purchases of Russian oil and petroleum products as soon as possible and by the end of 2022 the latest,” the French multinational oil and gas company said Tuesday.
The move comes following pressure on TotalEnergies after it stayed hanging onto its Russian investments during a mass exodus of western oil majors after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine even though no sanctions have forced such divestments.
11:45 a.m. ET: Stocks rebound after closing lower in previous session
Here were the main moves in markets as of 11:45 a.m. ET:
S&P 500 (^GSPC): +43.05 (+0.96%) to 4,504.23
Dow (^DJI): +198.75 (+0.58%) to 34,751.74
Nasdaq (^IXIC): +255.43 (+1.85%) to 14,093.89
Crude (CL=F): -$2.47 (-2.20%) to $109.65 a barrel
Gold (GC=F): -$17.10 (-0.89%) to $1,912.40 per ounce
10-year Treasury (^TNX): +6.4 bps to yield 2.3790%
10:45 a.m. ET: Japanese crypto exchange to list on Nasdaq in $1 billion SPAC merger
Japanese cryptocurrency exchange Coincheck Inc. announced it will go public in the United States by merging with blank-check firm Thunder Bridge Capital Partners IV Inc. in a deal valued at $1.25 billion.
The transaction is expected to result in proceeds of $237 million to the combined company from the cash held in the special-purpose acquisition company’s (SPAC) trust, assuming there are no redemptions.
Coincheck, based in Tokyo, is a marketplace for buying and selling cryptocurrencies and an exchange for digital assets such as non-fungible tokens. The company has about 1.5 million customers.
9:52 a.m. ET: Carnival Cruise sales miss on COVID-hit demand
Carnival Corp. (CCL) reported quarterly revenue that fell below Wall Street estimates as a rise in COVID-19 infections due to the Omicron variant put a dent in demand for cruise vacations during the period.
The cruise line operator said in the first quarter of 2022 it experienced an impact on bookings for its near-term sailings, including higher cancellation rates attributed to an increase in pre-travel positive test results as the Omicron wave took its course.
In December and January, several cases of infections were identified on ships owned by Carnival.
The company reported a net loss that narrowed to $1.89 billion, or $1.66 per share, in the quarter ended Feb. 28, from $1.97 billion, or $1.80 per share, a year earlier. Bloomberg consensus data showed analysts projected a loss of $1.23 per share.
9:30 a.m. ET: Stocks open higher as investors continue to weigh Fed inflation comments
Here’s how stocks opened at the start of Tuesday’s trading session:
S&P 500 (^GSPC): +15.12 (+0.34%) to 4,476.30
Dow (^DJI): +194.36 (+0.56%) to 34,747.35
Nasdaq (^IXIC): +22.26 (+0.16%) to 13,860.72
Crude (CL=F): +$0.32 (+0.29%) to $112.44 a barrel
Gold (GC=F): -$3.80 (-0.20%) to $1,925.70 per ounce
10-year Treasury (^TNX): +5.7 bps to yield 2.3720%
7:23 a.m. ET: Bitcoin hits $42,000 as hedge fund Bridgewater plans foray into crypto
Bitcoin (BTC-USD) topped the $42,000 mark following news Ray Dalio’s Bridgewater Associates, the world’s biggest hedge fund, is set to invest in the digital asset.
The coin’s price jumped 3.7% to $42,888.33 Tuesday morning as of 7:20 a.m. ET.
Ethereum (ETH-USD) also gained on the news, rising 3.7% to $3,022.01 as of early Tuesday. The cryptocurrency advanced 16.5% in a week to $3,020 after its co-founder Vitalik Buterin appeared on the front cover of Time magazine.
Bridgewater’s plan to invest in bitcoin underscores the faith institutional finance has in a long-term upward trajectory for the cryptocurrency. The hedge fund is one of several professional investment management firms adding bitcoin to their investment portfolios.
7:00 a.m. ET: Contracts on S&P 500, Dow, and Nasdaq edge higher after Powell remarks
Here were the main moves in markets ahead of Tuesday’s open:
S&P 500 futures (ES=F): +16.00 points (+0.36%) to 4,468.25
Dow futures (YM=F): +169.00 points (+0.49%) to 34,605.00
Nasdaq futures (NQ=F): +46.25 point (+0.32%) to 14,416.75
Crude (CL=F): -$0.62(-0.55%) to $111.50 a barrel
Gold (GC=F): -$1.90 (-10.00%) to $1,927.60 per ounce
10-year Treasury (^TNX): +0.00 bps to yield 2.315%
6:00 p.m. ET Monday: Stock futures tick slightly higher after indexes snap winning streak
Here’s where markets were trading heading into the overnight session Monday:
S&P 500 futures (ES=F): +4.00 points (+0.09%) to 4,456.25
Dow futures (YM=F): +47.00 points (+0.14%) to 34,483.00
Nasdaq futures (NQ=F): +16.75 point (+0.12%) to 14,387.25
Crude (CL=F): +$0.78 (+0.70%) to $112.90 a barrel
Gold (GC=F): +$6.80 (+0.35%) to $1,936.30 per ounce
10-year Treasury (^TNX): +4.3 bps to yield 2.191%
Alexandra Semenova is a reporter for Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter @alexandraandnyc
Why rent is so expensive in Canadian cities (that aren’t Toronto or Vancouver)
When rent goes up, it often goes up most dramatically in major urban centers. And, sure enough, Toronto and Vancouver have consistently been in the spotlight as rental prices have skyrocketed over the last year. A two-bedroom apartment in the Ontario capital averaged $1,765 a month in 2022, while the same place in Vancouver soared to $2,002, according to the latest Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC).
But it isn’t just a problem for Canada’s biggest cities.
Across the country, high-interest rates have left would-be homeowners renting rather than buying, driving up demand in the rental market. Stable youth employment has also boosted demand, as has an uptick in net migration, the report said, given that young people and new immigrants tend to rent rather than buy.
But every region has its own unique factors driving up the cost of rent, from an improved economy in the West to the impact of students returning to campus in college towns.
Here’s a look at what’s happening in some of those other rental markets.
Janice Rourke, 67, recently received a notice that rent in her downtown apartment was going up nearly 24 per cent, an increase it blamed on the rising price of utilities, maintenance and other costs. (Alberta doesn’t have a cap on rent increases, though it does limit how often rent can be raised.)
“That was a huge surprise, when I saw the amount,” said Rourke, who is currently between jobs and said it will be a struggle to afford the new monthly bill.
She’s considered searching for a less expensive place, but says the prices of nearby apartments haven’t been much better.
In Calgary, the average price of a two-bedroom rental apartment grew six per cent last year to $1,466 a month, according to the CMHC.
“It’s getting harder and harder to find safe, affordable accommodation,” said Rourke.
Existing tenants like Rourke and those on the hunt for a first apartment are facing a tight rental market in Calgary these days. Last year, the city’s vacancy rate for purpose-built rentals dropped to 2.7 per cent, its lowest since 2014 when the previous oil boom of the early 2010s lured many people to Alberta.
Rental demand has, this time, again been buoyed by a record-high level of immigration and an uptick in “in-migration” — people moving to the province from elsewhere in Canada — lured by Alberta’s relative affordability and available jobs.
“This [provincial migration] is significant, because we haven’t seen this for a lot of years,” said Michael Mak, CMHC’s analyst for the region.
What makes today different from previous boom times, Mak said, is that the current economic growth isn’t entirely linked to strong commodity prices, though those certainly played a role. Employment has also grown in other sectors, especially technology.
“Nowadays, it’s a much more diversified economy,” said Mak.
The rental market in Kitchener-Cambridge-Waterloo, a cluster of three small cities some 90 kilometres southwest of Toronto, has been tight for several years, with a vacancy rate hovering around two per cent. In 2022, it dipped even further to 1.2 per cent, the region’s lowest in two decades.
Meanwhile, apartment rental prices grew by more than seven per cent — faster growth than the nearby markets of Toronto, Guelph and London, according to the CMHC report. The average price for a two-bedroom rental is now $1,469.
Sana Banu, a recent graduate of Conestoga College and president of the students’ union, recalls moving to the region in 2018 as an international student and easily finding a room to rent near the Kitchener campus.
“[Today,] there is no availability anymore within the vicinity of the campus,” said Banu.
The return of students to campus, after so much remote learning during the pandemic, has been among the drivers of the tight rental market, according to CMHC. The region is home to Conestoga College, Wilfrid Laurier University and the University of Waterloo.
While all students contribute to demand for rentals, Banu says international students are less likely than domestic students to have family near campus, and more likely to rent while they study.
The number of international students studying in Canada has been on the rise for years, and while their numbers dipped during the outset of the pandemic, the CMHC says there’s since been a “strong rebound” of study permits issued in Ontario.
The CMHC report says a surge in permanent resident admissions in the region has also likely contributed to demand for rentals, as has employment growth in its high-tech sector.
As rental options become fewer and farther between, Banu says more students are commuting from outside the region, couch surfing or piling multiple roommates into the same bedroom. As students become more desperate, she’s also concerned they’ll also be more likely to fall for rental scams.
“There is not enough supply for the demand that we have right now,” she said.
Both international and, increasingly, inter-provincial migration have contributed to high demand for rentals in Halifax. Nova Scotia gained 17,319 people from international migration and 14,079 from within Canada between July 2021 and July 2022, according to the province’s Department of Finance.
Halifax’s recent surge of in-migrants has been due to the province’s relatively low cost of housing and its reputation for handling the pandemic, along with the growing ability of workers to do their jobs remotely, according to the city’s economic development agency.
The CMHC report says in-migrants are generally less likely to rent and more likely to purchase homes, though this, too, has contributed to the high cost of renting.
“Local residents are having to stay in rentals longer just so that they can step up to buy a home,” said Kelvin Ndoro, CMHC’s analyst for the region.
After trending down for the last few years, the vacancy rate in Halifax held steady in 2022 at one per cent, said Ndoro. Meanwhile, the cost of rent shot up by roughly nine per cent, to an average of $1,449 for a two-bedroom apartment.
Amid that record-low vacancy rate, Chris Ryan, a Halifax property manager, says he gets between three to five inquiries a day from people asking if he has any inventory available.
“We’re just growing at a pace that real estate hasn’t caught up to yet,” he said.
Halifax, like Kitchener-Waterloo-Cambridge, has an abundance of post-secondary schools. And the post-pandemic return of students to campus — and international students in particular — has contributed to demand for rentals, the CMHC report noted.
International student enrolment has been on the rise there for years (aside from a dip during the pandemic), according to data from the Halifax Partnership. The economic development agency says the share of international students attending university in Halifax has grown from about 14 per cent of enrolments in 2011-12, to about 23 per cent in 2021-22.
Kyle Cook, vice-president of advocacy for the Saint Mary’s University Student Association, says the lack of student housing has left some in a precarious position.
“Often we’re hearing … that students are renting out their living rooms, hallways,and sometimes having to share two to three people in one room,” said Cook. “It’s something that is very common, especially over the last few years since COVID.”
As more people move into Halifax, others have left for nearby communities, in search of a more affordable place to live, Ndoro says.
Some young people are opting out of the rental market altogether, he said, instead choosing to live with their parents to save money.
There are differences in what’s fuelling rental demand throughout Canada, but also plenty of similarities. As interest rates go up, it becomes more difficult to buy, pushing more people to rent for longer.
People are also moving into Canada and within it — whether for school, work or in search of an affordable place to live — leading to heightened demand in various markets, even those where inexpensive apartments have historically been fairly easy to find.
There is also one major similarity in what is expected to solve the affordability problem: more housing supply.
“[The results of this report] reinforce the urgent need to accelerate housing supply and address supply gaps to improve housing affordability for Canadians,” the CMHC report said.
Bank of Canada to publish summary of interest-rate deliberations for the first time
The Bank of Canada contemplated not raising interest rates last month but with the economy outperforming expectations, its governing council ultimately decided in favour of one more rate hike before taking a pause.
In its first-ever summary of deliberations, the Bank of Canada pointed to a tight labour market, strong GDP growth and the risk of inflation getting stuck above two per cent as the rationale for raising its key rate by a quarter of a percentage point on Jan. 25.
The summary published Wednesday outlined what the council – made up of the governor and his deputies – discussed during meetings about the rate decision.
BMO managing director of Canadian rates and macro strategist Benjamin Reitzes said the biggest revelation from the summary was that the central bank was actually considering holding its key interest rate last month, suggesting it was taking a more tepid approach than markets had thought.
“The fact that they considered not raising rates was a little bit of a surprise,” Reitzes said.
But the Bank of Canada’s rationale for raising rates was exactly right, he added, noting the economy has been running hotter-than-expected.
“We’ve seen some signs of a slowdown, but not nearly enough to really warrant extreme concern at this point,” he said.
In December, Canada’s unemployment rate was five per cent, just above the record-low of 4.9 per cent reached in the summer. Economic growth has also beat expectations toward the end of 2022.
The Bank of Canada’s rate hikes are expected to be felt more broadly in the economy this year.
The governing council unanimously agreed that the central bank’s action to date had been aggressive and the full economic effects of rate hikes have not yet been felt.
“All governing council members acknowledged they were approaching this decision with a similar view: that the bank’s monetary policy to date had been forceful and that the full impact would be felt in quarters to come,” the summary said.
The central bank has hiked its key rate eight consecutive times since March 2022, bringing it from near zero to 4.5 per cent. That’s the highest it’s been since 2007.
With the first rate hike of the year, the central bank indicated that it would take a conditional pause to assess how the economy is responding to higher rates.
The summary also revealed that the Bank of Canada is concerned inflation might be stickier than expected.
“Persistence in supply chain challenges, services price inflation, wage growth and inflation expectations could all keep inflation above the target,” the summary said. “A rebound in oil prices could also push inflation back up again.”
Headline inflation has fallen from its peak of 8.1 per cent seen in June to 6.3 per cent in December. The Bank of Canada is forecasting the annual inflation rate will fall to three per cent by mid-2023 and to its two per cent target in 2024.
According to the summary, after some deliberation on what forward guidance the central bank should give, governing council members were in broad agreement to signal a pause to convey that the bar for raising rates further is now higher.
Reitzes said the summary makes it clear that a rate hike in March is “off the table.”
The release of the five-page summary follows a recommendation from the International Monetary Fund to increase transparency about the rate decision process.
It also provides a glimpse into what the Bank of Canada’s governing council considers when making policy decisions, something economists and forecasters often try to understand.
Reitzes said the summary was a welcome addition and “provided a little bit more colour around the policy decision.”
As the Bank of Canada monitors how the economy reacts to higher borrowing costs, the summary shows it is closely watching global and domestic economic developments.
The council spent a “considerable” amount of time discussing the potential effects of China lifting COVID-19 restrictions, according to the summary, with a particular concern about the effect the reopening could have on oil prices.
“If Chinese demand were to rebound by more than anticipated, oil prices could rise substantially, putting renewed upside pressure on Canadian and global inflation,” the summary said.
Domestically, the governing council noted declines in consumption and housing activity indicate the economy is slowing.
However, Statistics Canada’s preliminary estimate for real GDP in the fourth quarter suggests higher growth than the Bank of Canada’s previous expectations.
The central bank has also said Canada’s tight labour market is a sign of an overheated economy. In December, the unemployment rate was five per cent, just above the record-low of 4.9 per cent reached in the summer.
But the council is still encouraged by signs of inflation slowing.
In the summary, the council acknowledged that much of that slowdown is the result of lower gasoline prices, but members noted the decline in durable goods inflation suggests higher interest rates are working to slow demand.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 8, 2023.
Ship-To-Ship Loadings Of Urals Hit Record High As Russian Oil Heads To Asia
Loadings of Russia’s flagship Urals crude using ship-to-ship (STS) transfers in the Mediterranean surged eight times in January from December to a record in the first full month in which the EU banned seaborne imports of Russian oil.
STS loadings, used by traders to move the crude from smaller tankers onto larger ones to make the journey to Asia profitable, have soared since the EU ban came into effect on December 5, according to data from Refinitiv Eikon cited by Reuters on Tuesday.
The key STS loading points in the Mediterranean are near Kalamata in Greek waters and near the Spanish port of Ceuta in the Strait of Gibraltar.
STS loadings in the Mediterranean hit an all-time high of 1.7 million tons in January, an eightfold surge compared to December, per Refinitiv Eikon data and Reuters calculations.
Since Urals is no longer being imported into the EU, cargoes are being diverted to Asia, mostly to India, China, and Singapore.
While the Urals crude is now finding a home outside Europe, the low price of Russia’s flagship grade is reducing Russian revenues from oil, due to the steep discount at which Urals trades relative to Brent Crude.
Russia’s budget revenues from oil and gas plunged in January by 46% compared to the same month last year. Russian budget revenues from energy sales – including taxes and customs revenues – plummeted last month to the lowest level since August 2020.
In January 2023, the price of Urals grade averaged 42% lower than in the same month of 2022, as its discount to Brent Crude grew wider following the EU embargo and the G7 price cap, which came into effect on December 5. The average price of Urals in January, at $49.48 per barrel, was 1.7 times lower than in January 2022, when it averaged $85.64 per barrel, Russia’s Finance Ministry said last week.
Russia is considering taxing its oil firms based on the price of Brent – instead of Urals – to limit the fallout on the Russian budget revenues due to the widening discount of Urals to Brent, Russian daily Kommersant reported last week, quoting sources.
By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com
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