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Markets Have Worst Day Since 2020
Key Takeaways
  • The S&P 500 closed at 4,271.78 down from 4,392.65 Friday. The VIX spiked 24.38% to $28.21 in the worst day for markets since 2020.
  • Earnings numbers came in pretty strong with some notable exceptions but guidance was tepid or bearish in many cases given the persistent sources of uncertainty for markets.
  • Chairman Powell made hawkish comments at the IMF meeting which seemed to alert markets to a more hawkish Fed than many market participants may have been prepared for.
  • The Russian Offensive in the East has not been immensely successful as the nation’s beleaguered and battered forces have not had time to regroup or reintegrate into cohesive units.

Markets had their fourth consecutive week of losses. Friday was a particularly bad day with all the major indexes down more than 2.5%. The Dow had its worst one-day loss since the dog days of COVID-19. Some of the key losers dragging the stalwart index down were United Health, Caterpillar, Home Depot, and Visa. The index has been down 9 weeks out of the last 11. This is definitely a quarter where missing results will not be taken lightly. One recurring theme is that many companies are giving tepid to bearish guidance about sales growth in coming quarters. Beat rates have mostly been in line with recent quarters.

Thursday had started out quite strong and markets reversed abruptly in wake of Powell’s comments which were exacerbated by some tough earnings misses. Some companies beat estimates and still suffered because of guidance. Powell did mention inflation might be peaking, but markets didn’t take much solace in that statement. The 10-year peaked around 2.95 after Powell’s comments and retreated on Friday by about 5 bps to 2.904%. The next big catalyst in the upcoming week will be the Tech Titans reporting earnings. These massive market-cap companies might either draw a line of support in the sand, so to speak, or if they show headwinds, it could make the selling a lot worse. Another big thing to watch next week is the release of the Fed’s preferred gauge of inflation the Personal Consumer Expenditures Index (PCE). This will be the last reading before its next meeting in May. The week ahead includes reports from Microsoft, Alphabet, Meta, Apple, and Amazon before the next major inflation reading. So, keep your eyes peeled friends.

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