Stock market today: Stocks down, cements another week of losses

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Major Wall Street indices struggled to find direction in the final session of the week as investors tried to interpret various signals regarding Russia’s war with Ukraine and perhaps waited for the decision from the Federal Reserve next week.

Early Friday, Russian President Vladimir Putin said his negotiators had affirmed there were “some positive changes” in the peace talks, although no concrete progress had been made. However, hours later, President Joe Biden announced a pair of economic volleys on Russia.

More importantly, the United States will join the European Union and the Group of Seven in revoking the country’s “most favored nation” status, allowing it to impose higher tariffs on the nation’s goods. America will also ban the export of luxury goods to Russia (bourbon is popular there).

Investors could also have their eye on next week, when the Fed is expected to announce its first benchmark rate hike in more than three years – a speculation that has weighed on sentiment in recent months, but that Chief Lindsey Bell markets and currency strategist for Ally Invest says is not a death knell for equities.

“Since 1955, the S&P 500 has generally performed well within nine months of the initial interest rate hike before performance began to moderate,” she says. “It’s likely because initial rate increases are more easily absorbed because they come from low levels. Thinking longer term, remember that over the past four decades, the S&P 500 has produced positive returns over six periods of tightening.”

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the Dow Jones Industrial Average suffered a modest decline of 0.7% to 32,944, capping its fifth consecutive weekly loss. the S&P500 (-1.3% to 4,204) and Nasdaq Compound (-2.2% to 12,843) also ended in the red for the week.

Other news on the stock market today:

  • Small cap Russell 2000 was down 1.5% at 1,981.
  • U.S. Crude Futures jumped 3.1% to settle at $109.33 a barrel.
  • Gold Futures Contracts slid 0.8% to end at $1,985.00 an ounce.
  • Bitcoin fell 3.2% to $38,356.42. (Bitcoin trades 24 hours a day; prices shown here are as of 4 p.m.)
  • DocuSign (DOCU) fell 20.1% after the e-signature company reported fourth-quarter results. DOCU reported better-than-expected earnings of 48 cents per share, revenue of $580.8 million and billings of $670.1 million. However, the company gave lower-than-expected revenue guidance for the current quarter and full fiscal year. In response, Oppenheimer analyst George Iwanyc downgraded DOCU to Perform from Outperform, the equivalents of Hold and Buy, respectively. “Forecasts show that the challenges experienced at the time with sales execution and resetting post-COVID consumption patterns remain headwinds in the short to medium term,” Iwancy wrote in a note. “We believe it may take several quarters for consumption to fully reset and for recent sales adjustments to show results.”
  • Rivian Automotive (RIVN, -7.6%) reported an adjusted fourth-quarter loss of $2.43 per share, higher than the $1.97 per share expected by analysts. Revenue of $54 million also missed the consensus estimate. The company’s automaker said it plans to produce 25,000 electric vehicles this year and announced 83,000 reservations as of March 8, up 16.9% from December. However, CEO RJ Scaringe warned that supply chain issues have hampered the ramp-up of production and “will likely continue until at least 2022”. CFRA Research analyst Garrett Nelson spoke after the results. “The combination of the lost earnings, slower-than-expected production ramp and weak guidance was very disappointing, and the stock’s 12% after-hours decline reflected that,” writes Nelson in a note. “We stay in a hold.”

There’s more than one way to invest around inflation

While Americans bemoan soaring prices for gasoline, groceries and just about everything else, corporate America also seems to have inflation on their minds.

On Friday, John Butters, Senior Earnings Analyst, revealed the results of a factual papers search for mentions of the term “inflation” in transcripts of the S&P 500 fourth quarter earnings conference call from December 15 to March 11. .

“356 cited the term ‘inflation’ on their fourth quarter earnings calls, well above the five-year average of 144. In fact, this is the highest number of companies in the S&P 500 citing ‘inflation’ on earnings calls going back to at least 2010 (using current index constituents going back in time),” he says.

These pressures threaten to continue to define the Wall Street landscape for several more months – against which more active investors can defend themselves with stock picks centered on soaring inflation or even the possibility of stagflation.

But buyers and holders are not entirely without their own countermeasures.

While a typical index fund will continue to buy what its benchmark says it has to, no matter what, actively managed funds are managed by teams who, if they deem it prudent, adjust their investments to better address pressing macroeconomic issues. Those who prefer a human hand behind the wheel could consider several options from Vanguard. Although the fund provider has made a name for itself in the area of ​​low-cost indexing, it is also responsible for a number of actively managed and popular vehicles. Check them.

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