Stock market news today: Stocks fall, manufacturing data on tap
U.S. stocks fell Wednesday morning to start March as key manufacturing data offered mixed results and two Federal Reserve officials suggested a more aggressive rate-hiking campaign in the coming months.
The S&P 500 (^GSPC) declined 0.5%, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average (^DJI) edged down 0.2%. Contracts on the technology-heavy Nasdaq Composite (^IXIC) fell by 0.6%.
The yield on the benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury note moved upward near 4% Wednesday midday. Crude oil traded weaker, with U.S. benchmark WTI down at $77.03 a barrel.
On the economic data side, U.S. manufacturing firms signaled a grim outlook for the sector, according to the latest PMI data from S&P Global. The seasonally adjusted S&P Global US Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index was revised lower to 47.3 in February, up from 46.9 in January. The reading indicates “a solid deterioration in the health of the goods-producing sector, despite the pace of decline softening to the slowest for three months.”
Separately, economic activity in the manufacturing sector diminished in February for the fourth consecutive month following a 28-month period of growth, according to the Institute for Supply Management report on business. The data offered a mixed bag. Employment in manufacturing decreased to 49.10 in February from 50.60 in January. New orders rose to 47.0 compared to January’s figure of 42.5. Prices paid jumped to 51.3 from January’s reading of 44.5.
Stocks fell Tuesday, rounding out the last day of a volatile month of February on Wall Street. According to JP Morgan’s trading desk, February’s month-end rebalance drove some weakness in equities and strength in bonds Tuesday afternoon. In addition, Goldman Sachs’ (GS) investor day featured a 3.8% selloff for the stock as the bank considers alternatives for its struggling consumer platforms business.
“After the recent strategic missteps, this update is clearly more evolution than revolution,” JPM financial sector specialist James Goulbourne wrote in a note on Tuesday, “with profitability in the ancillary Platform Solutions business, rather than deeper expense cuts in core business (what the market really wanted), combined with declining balance sheet exposure expected to drive returns higher.”
With February in the rearview, the S&P 500 is now up 3.4% this year, according to data from Bespoke Investment Group. Mega-caps have been a massive driver of the index moves. That said, 20 of the largest stocks in the S&P 500 have accounted for most of the index’s gains.
Now, as the calendar turns, March historically sees the S&P 500’s gains in the second half of the month, Bespoke Investment Group noted.
The path of the Federal Reserve’s rate hikes remains in focus for investors. Two Federal Reserve officials spoke on Wednesday leaned in the move that aggressive interest rate hikes are the path forward to ease inflation.
In his first public speech since taking office last month, Chicago Fed President Austan Goolsbee said on Tuesday it would be a “danger and a mistake for policy makers to rely too heavily on market reactions” and emphasized the importance to “supplement these traditional data with observations on the ground from the real economy.”
However, Goolsbee, who will be a voter at this year’s policy-setting Federal Open Market Committee meeting, didn’t comment on monetary policy.
Since last year, the Fed has sharply raised rates in an effort to cool inflation. But inflation remains sticky. Policymakers will be releasing new projections after the central bank’s March 21-22 meeting.
On the housing front, mortgage rates are moving upward, pushing buyers to the sidelines as the spring housing market is underway. Both purchase and refinance applications slumped last week, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association’s seasonally adjusted index. Volume of purchase applications hit a 28-year low, down 44% from a year ago.
Here are some of the tickers trending on Yahoo Finance today:
- Eli Lilly and Company (LLY): Shares of the drugmaker edged up Wednesday morning as it expects to cap out-of-pocket cost of its insulin at $35 a month. The plan comes as a promise to provide critical relief to some people with diabetes, who at times face higher medical costs.
- Kohl’s (KSS): Shares of the retail giant declined 1% Wednesday morning after the company posted a surprise fourth quarter loss and sales slumped as consumer habits shift away from discretionary spending.
- Wendy’s (WEN): The fast-food chain announced in its quarterly earnings about its plans to target sales growth through 2025 as it streamlines costs.
- Rivian (RIVN): The electric truck manufacturer’s guidance for fiscal 2023 deliveries came in 20% below estimates as the EV maker struggles to scale up its truck, van, and SUV production.
- Nio (NIO): Another EV maker gave weak revenue guidance, the Chinese premium EV startup, reported a much worse-than-expected fourth quarter loss as margins took a hit due to in part the “losses on purchase commitments.” The stock fell 3% Wednesday.
- Tesla (TSLA): The EV maker is set to kickoff its first Investor Day event on Wednesday from its gigafactory in Austin,TX. CEO Elon Musk is expected to announce new Tesla products that aim to reduce reliance on fossil fuels and lead to a “fully sustainable energy future.”
- HP (HPQ): The PC and printing giant’s stock wavered after the company posted mix results amid a soft demand environment for personal computers. Fiscal-quarter sales dropped 18% year-over-year. Printer sales sank 5% from a year ago.
- Lowe’s (LOW): The home-improvement company reported weaker fiscal sales in the fourth quarter and issued a conservative outlook ahead, with comparable sales expected to be flat to down 2% compared to the prior year.
Other earnings on tap Wednesday after the bell include Salesforce (CRM), Snowflake (SNOW), and Okta (OKTA).
A Game-Changing Factor to Job Search: Your Ability to Make Human Connections
This column will be a departure from my usual job-searching topics to focus on something crucial to a successful job search and your career momentum, especially when networking and interviewing: making human connections.
“The most important things in life are the connections you make with others.” – Tom Ford, American fashion designer.
Genuine human connections lead to positive energy exchange and trust building. Since most job search activities involve interacting with people, projecting positive energy and being seen as trustworthy greatly benefits you.
According to American psychologist Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, love and belonging are the most essential needs we must fulfill, besides food, water, and safety. We are more fulfilled when our needs for love and belonging are met.
We live busy lives, juggling work, family responsibilities, self-care, side hustles, and more. Therefore, often our social connections fall by the wayside. You might not think connecting with others is important, but it is. Social connections can lower anxiety and depression, help regulate emotions, increase self-esteem and empathy, and improve your immune system. These are huge pluses when job hunting.
Sadly, we live in a time when there is a great deal of disconnection. While technology gives the appearance we are more connected than ever, the screens around us disconnect us from nature, ourselves, and those around us. Rather than using technology, especially social media, to enhance our human connections, we use it to replace them.
Being brave, proactive, and taking chances is often required to make human connections. Striking up a conversation with a stranger can be intimidating, requiring you to step out of your comfort zone. Your lowest-hanging fruit is to reconnect with current friends and family. Then venture out and try new activities, such as joining a club or taking classes, to meet people to build a relationship with.
Putting yourself out there will ultimately pay off in the form of a rewarding feeling that comes from building human connections. Here are six simple ways you can create human connections.
Surround yourself with people with shared interests.
It is easy to bond with people who share your interests and hobbies. Identifying commonalities between your interviewer and yourself is the most straightforward way to bond with your interviewer, which will give you a competitive advantage.
Do you love reading? Join a local book club. Are you a runner? Join a running club. Go where people who share your interests and beliefs are, such as clubs, volunteering, sports, taking classes, church, or sitting on an advisory board.
Overcome your resistance.
Building relationships is often intimidating because of a natural fear of rejection. However, to make human connections, you must overcome your limiting beliefs causing your resistance to change, and embrace situations outside your comfort zone.
The best way I know how to lower your anxiety when meeting new people is to remember showing interest is a massive gesture to anyone you meet. Therefore ask open-ended questions about the other person and make your discussion all about them.
TIP: When meeting someone for the first time, ask yourself, “How can I help this person?”
Smile and give off a positive attitude.
People prefer positive emotions to negative ones when forming a social connection; therefore, first impressions count.
A positive demeanor and a genuine smile will naturally draw people to you. Before spending time with others, I find doing a gratitude exercise and taking a few minutes to reflect on the good things in my life helpful in creating a positive attitude.
Putting your best self forward will maximize your chances of being a people magnet.
If you want to make friends more easily, allow yourself to be more vulnerable with others. This does not mean dropping all filters or boundaries. Too much, too soon, can put people off. On the other hand, you do not want to be an overly edited version of yourself and thus come across as not being authentic.
People can sense whether or not someone is genuine, so let them see the most authentic version of you. Your vulnerability will also prompt them to feel comfortable around you and connect with you on a deeper level.
Do not hide behind your phone.
In social situations where you are uncomfortable, hiding behind your phone is easy, preventing you from making real-life connections.
Being on your phone during a party or networking event makes you less approachable. Whenever you are out, focus on being present and engaging with the people around you.
Stay in touch.
Human connections need to be nurtured. Regular contact deepens your connections.
If you make a new friend, keep in touch with them and grow your friendship. Likewise, maintain your existing relationships with friends, family, and colleagues by keeping in touch.
Making and maintaining human connections is an activity you should prioritize if for no other reason than the fact that opportunities (e.g., jobs, friendships, love) exist all around you; the only caveat is they are connected to people. Therefore, the more people you are connected to, the more opportunities you will be exposed to.
Nick Kossovan, a well-seasoned veteran of the corporate landscape, offers “unsweetened” job search advice. You can send Nick your questions to email@example.com.
First Citizens acquires troubled Silicon Valley Bank
North Carolina-based First Citizens will buy Silicon Valley Bank, the tech industry-focused financial institution that collapsed earlier this month, rattling the banking industry and sending shockwaves around the world.
The deal could reassure investors at a time of shaken confidence in banks, though the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. and other regulators had already taken extraordinary steps to head off a wider banking crisis by guaranteeing that depositors in SVB and another failed U.S. bank would be able to access all of their money.
Customers of SVB will automatically become customers of First Citizens, which is headquartered in Raleigh. The 17 former branches of SVB will open as First Citizens branches Monday, the FDIC said.
European shares opened higher Monday, with German lender Commerzbank AG up 2.4% and BNP Paribas up 1.2%.
Investors worry that other banks also may crumble under the pressure of higher interest rates. On Friday, much of the focus was on Deutsche Bank, whose stock tumbled 8.5% in Germany, though it was back up about 3.6% in early trading Monday. Earlier this month, shares of and faith in Swiss bank Credit Suisse fell so much that regulators brokered a takeover of by rival UBS.
In the U.S., SVB, based in Santa Clara, California, collapsed March 10 after depositors rushed to withdraw money amid fears about the bank’s health. It was the second-largest bank collapse in U.S. history after the 2008 failure of Washington Mutual. Two days later, New York-based Signature Bank was seized by regulators in the third-largest bank failure in the U.S.
In both cases, the government agreed to cover deposits, even those that exceeded the federally insured limit of $250,000, so depositors were able to access their money.
New York Community Bank agreed to buy a significant chunk of Signature Bank in a $2.7 billion deal a week ago, but the search for a buyer for SVB took longer.
The sale announced late Sunday involves the sale of all deposits and loans of SVB to First-Citizens Bank and Trust Co., the FDIC said.
The acquisition gives the FDIC shares in First Citizens worth $500 million. Both the FDIC and First Citizens will share in losses and the potential recovery on loans included in a loss-share agreement, the FDIC said.
First Citizens Bank was founded in 1898 and says it has more than $100 billion in total assets, with more than 500 branches in 21 states as well as a nationwide bank. It reported net profit of $243 million in the last quarter. It is one of the top 20 U.S. banks and says it is the largest family-controlled bank in the country.
Shoppers Drug Mart moves away from medical cannabis, will send patients to Avicanna
Shoppers Drug Mart Inc. is moving away from its medical cannabis distribution business and preparing to transfer patients to a platform run by biopharmaceutical company Avicanna Inc.
The pharmacy chain owned by Loblaw Companies Ltd. announced the shift Tuesday, but did not say what prompted the change or how much money Toronto-based Avicanna is paying for Shoppers to refer patients to its MyMedi.ca platform.
“We are grateful for the trust placed in us by our medical cannabis patients over the past few years, and are confident we’ve found the right partner in Avicanna to continue to support them,” said Jeff Leger, Shoppers’ president, in a statement.
His company will start to send customers to Avicanna’s platform in early May, with all of the patients set to be off-loaded from Shoppers’ medical pot service by the end of July. Customers will be able to place orders on Shoppers’ website through the transition period.
Avicanna said it will offer a similar range of products including various formats, brands and “competitive pricing.” Like Shoppers, its online medical portal will strive to educate customers around harm reduction and provide specialty services for distinct patient groups like veterans.
Shoppers first launched its medical cannabis business in Ontario in January 2019, months after recreational pot was legalized in Canada (medical pot was legalized in Canada in 2001) at a time when many predicted the weed sector would be booming in the coming years.
The sector has instead struggled with profitability and as high numbers of recreational cannabis shops cluster in several cities, many retailers and licensed producers have had to drop their prices to stay competitive.
However, Shoppers said it racked up tens of thousands of patients in its four years of existence, providing them with access to cannabis from more than 30 brands including Aphria Inc., Hexo Corp.’s Redecan and the Green Organic Dutchman.
Shoppers’ medical cannabis patients were required to obtain a prescription from a licensed health care provider such as a doctor to begin ordering pot from the company, which shipped orders to their homes.
But the company was unhappy with how medical pot regulations limited its model. Shoppers claimed Tuesday that medical cannabis remains the only medication that is not dispensed in pharmacies.
“As we move away from medical cannabis distribution, we remain firm in our belief that this medication should be dispensed in pharmacies like all others and will continue our advocacy to that end,” said Leger.
Avicanna’s statement did not outline its feelings on the matters, but its chief executive said it was “motivated” to “put our full efforts toward advancing medical cannabis and its incorporation into the standard of care.”
“We are thankful to be selected as the partner for this transition and look forward to introducing MyMedi.ca, supporting patients and providing them with continuity of care,” said Avicanna chief executive Aras Azadian in a statement.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 28, 2023
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