Stock futures drop, Treasury yields spike as traders await inflation, earnings data

U.S. stocks dipped Monday morning as investors looked ahead to the start of corporate earnings season this week and a bevy of new economic data as the Federal Reserve prepares to accelerate its moves to counter inflation.

The S&P 500 declined 0.61% and added to last week’s losses. Nasdaq dropped 1% as technology stocks came under renewed pressure. Treasury yields climbed, and the benchmark 10-year yield rose above 2.7% to reach the highest level since January 2019.

Concerns over inflation, rising commodity prices amid Russia’s war in Ukraine, and the Federal Reserve’s monetary policy path forward remained at the center of investors’ attention. On Tuesday, traders are set to receive the latest Consumer Price Index from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which is expected to show a staggering 8.4% year-over-year increase in prices for the biggest leap since 1982. And this comes as Fed officials have increasingly talked of larger-than-average 50 basis-point interest rate hikes this year to help bring down prices. Last week, the Fed’s March meeting minutes also showed the central bank was gearing up to begin rolling off assets from its $9 trillion balance sheet, in a further move removing financial market support and pivoting away from pandemic-era accommodative policies.

“If we think about recent cycles that are comparable, I think about 2018, 2019, the Fed was raising interest rates and running off its balance sheet. That should sound very familiar,” Seth Carpenter, global chief economist for Morgan Stanley, told Yahoo Finance on Friday. “But at the end of 2018, risk markets started to crack and the Fed reversed course really quickly.”

“The key difference now between those two episodes is they are trying to pull inflation down. They’re not trying to keep it from rising,” he added. “And so what that means is they’re trying to slow the U.S. economy. They’re trying to slow growth so much that inflation pressures come down but not so much that they tip us over into recession. And that’s tricky.”

Meanwhile, the start of the latest quarterly corporate earnings season this week will help show how individual companies have navigated inflationary pressures and the specter of slowing economic growth. As of Friday, Wall Street analysts expected S&P 500 earnings to grow 4.5% for the first quarter over last year, according to FactSet data. If realized, this would mark the slowest rate since the fourth quarter of 2020.

“Guidance and management commentary will be particularly important sources of information this quarter given the earnings uncertainty going forward,” David Kostin, Goldman Sachs chief U.S. equity strategist, wrote in a note Monday. “Consistent with prior quarters, guidance has recently been a key differentiator of stock performance.”

9:30 a.m. ET: Stocks kick off the week lower

Here were the main moves in markets as of 9:30 a.m. ET:

  • S&P 500 (^GSPC): -28.10 (-0.63%) to 4,460.18

  • Dow (^DJI): -100.65 (-0.29%) to 34,620.47

  • Nasdaq (^IXIC): -162.58 (-1.19%) to 13,548.42

  • Crude (CL=F): -$3.74 (-3.81%) to $94.52 a barrel

  • Gold (GC=F): +$20.70 (+1.06%) to $1,966.30 per ounce

  • 10-year Treasury (^TNX): +4.2 bps to yield 2.7550%

7:13 a.m. ET: Twitter shares dip after Musk decides not to join board

Shares of Twitter (TWTR) dropped Monday morning, giving back some of last week’s gains after Tesla CEO Elon Musk opted not to join the board of the social media company after taking a more than 9% stake.

“Elon’s appointment to the board was to become officially effective 4/9, but Elon shared that same morning that he will no longer be joining the board. I believe this is for the best,” Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal said in a tweet Monday. “We have and will always value input from our shareholders whether they are on our Board or not. Elon is our biggest shareholder and we will remain open to his input.”

“There will be distractions ahead, but our goals and priorities remain unchanged,” Agrawal added. “The decisions we make and how we execute is in our hands, no one else’s.”

7:07 a.m. ET Monday: Stock futures head for a lower open

Here’s where markets were trading Monday morning before the opening bell:

  • S&P 500 futures (ES=F): -15 points (-0.33%) to 4,468.50

  • Dow futures (YM=F): -24 points (-0.07%) to 34,589.00

  • Nasdaq futures (NQ=F): -106.5 points (-0.74%) to 14,220.50

  • Crude (CL=F): -$2.49 (-2.53%) to $95.77 a barrel

  • Gold (GC=F): +$16.00 (+0.82%) to $1,961.60 per ounce

  • 10-year Treasury (^TNX): +4.2 bps to yield 2.757%

NEW YORK, NEW YORK – MARCH 30: Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange on March 30, 2022 in New York City. U.S. stocks opened low after rallying to start the week. (Photo by Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images)

Emily McCormick is a reporter for Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter.

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