Boeing and Chevron lead the way as Tuesday gains mount among Dow industrials


U.S. stocks turned higher at midday Tuesday, as investors gauged whether the recent losing streak in equities has been overdone. Traders also weighed the potential rippled effects of the Bank of Japan’s surprise announcement to put a higher ceiling on government bond yields.

How are stocks are trading
  • The S&P 500 SPX, +0.16% rose 9 points, or 0.2%, to 3,814.
  • The Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA, +0.32% was up 114 points, or 0.3%, at 32,866.
  • The Nasdaq Composite COMP, -2.90% was up 26 points, or 0.2%, to 10,578.

Stocks fell for a fourth straight session on Monday. The Nasdaq Composite was down 6.3% over that stretch, and has retreated 32.6% so far this year.

What’s driving markets

Wall Street is looking to avoid a fifth straight losing session, while investors weighed the implications of a surprise monetary policy shift by the Bank of Japan.

The S&P 500 closed the previous day near a six-week low as concerns intensify that central banks’ hiking of borrowing costs to combat inflation will push economies into recession and cause corporate earnings to fall.

The Bank of Japan had been an outlier among major central banks by having maintained rates at the zero lower bound, while others embarked on their biggest tightening cycle in a generation, noted Henry Allen, strategist at Deutsche Bank.

But on Tuesday the BoJ doubled the cap on the country’s 10-year bond, from 0.25% to 0.5%, causing the yen to jump more than 3%, while whacking equities in the region and giving U.S. stock investors more to consider.

See: Why the Bank of Japan’s surprise policy twist is rattling global markets

The BoJ kept its short-term interest rate at minus 0.1%, but the raising of the yield at which it will allow bonds to trade was seen as a step towards the ending of its era of ultra-loose monetary policy. The Nikkei 225 NIK, -2.46% fell 2.5%.

“It’s important not to underestimate the impact this could have, because tighter BoJ policy would remove one of the last global anchors that’s helped to keep borrowing costs at low levels more broadly,” Allen added.

The 10-year U.S. Treasury yield TMUBMUSD10Y, 3.687% stood at 3.685% as the equivalent maturity Japanese government bond TMBMKJP-10Y, 0.417% climbed to 0.418%.

However, some analysts argued that recent drops in U.S. stocks were starting to go too far.

“I think we’ve been oversold the last couple weeks,” Joe Saluzzi, partner at Themis Trading, said in a phone interview. There’s the macroeconomic pressures weighing on stocks, but Saluzzi said the recent run of heavy selling may also be partly attributable to year-end tax loss harvesting in order to reap tax benefits from the year’s losses.

The Bank of Japan announcement may have unsettled some early trading, he said. But ultimately, there’s just one central bank in the mind of U.S. equity investors, Saluzzi noted.

Until the Federal Reserve is clear that its own interest rate hikes are complete, markets will be choppy, Saluzzi said. “The economy is weakening. No matter what the Fed said, they are not going to be doing much more,” he said.

“U.S. equity markets remain trending lower in the short run, but are close to near-term support which should materialize between 12/21-12/23 at marginally lower levels,” wrote Mark Newton, head of technical strategy at Fundstrat, in a note to clients.

“The percentage of stocks above their 20-day moving average is nearing single-digit territory, which normally provides relief for longs. Overall, I don’t expect markets to go down much further in December, and risk/reward for trading shorts looks sub-par with SPX not far above targets at 3,725.

“This might materialize at 3775-3800 before allowing for a minor bounce, and then retest into Wednesday-Friday. However, I’m fully expecting a bounce next week into year-end, regardless if it proves temporary,” Newton concluded.

Tuesday morning data gave another window to a slowing economy. Building permits and housing starts were both down in November.

Companies in focus
  • 3M Co.  MMM, -0.58% is phasing out the manufacturing of so-called “forever chemicals” like fluoropolymers, fluorinated fluids, and PFAS-based additive products by the end of 2025. The phase-out process will include taking mostly non-cash charges of $1.3 billion to $2.3 billion to exit the line of business. Shares are down 0.5% in mid-morning trading.
  • Wells Fargo & Co.  WFC, -1.53% is being ordered to pay a civil penalty of $1.7 billion and return more than $2 billion to consumers, according to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. The regulator said the fines and consumer redress are connected to “widespread mismanagement” of auto loans, mortgages and deposit accounts, the CFPB said. Shares were off 1.1% in mid-morning trading.

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