Market Snapshot: Dow drops 300 points as S&P 500, Nasdaq head for worst month since March 2020


U.S. stocks were softer on Friday, as investors weighed up fresh inflation data and technology stocks suffered after disappointing results Inc.

How are stock-index futures trading?
  • The Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA, -0.84% fell159 points, or 0.5%, to 33,757.
  • The S&P 500 SPX, -1.38% fell 41 points, or 1%, to 4,246.
  • The Nasdaq Composite COMP, -1.46% shed 109 points, or 0.9%, to trade at 12,762.

On Thursday, the Dow rose 614.46 points, or 1.9%, while the S&P 500 gained 2.5% and the Nasdaq Composite jumped 3.1%. The Dow and S&P 500 marked their best daily percentage climbs since March 9, while the Nasdaq saw its best day since March 16, according to Dow Jones Market Data.

What’s driving markets?

Friday marks the last trading day of April, which is on the verge of being the worst month for the S&P 500 — down 5.3% through Thursday — since March 2020. The Nasdaq is down 9.4% and is also facing its worst monthly return since that pandemic low, according to FactSet.

The month has been consumed by worries on several fronts, including the U.S. economy as well as China’s — as that country sees climbing COVID-19 cases — and also Russia’s continued war in Ukraine.

“The petrified tail-chasing we have seen this week as equity markets swing from ‘we’re all doomed, get me out,’ to ‘I don’t want to miss the absolute bottom of the stock market, get me in’ is perhaps indicative of the state of confusion out there,” Jeffrey Halley, senior market analyst at Oanda, told clients in a note.

On the heels of Thursday’s weak U.S. first quarter economic growth data, the Federal Reserve’s favored inflation gauge — the core personal consumer expenditure price index for March —rose 0.3% with the headline index up 0.9%. First quarter employment cost index accelerated to 1.4% from 1.0%.

See: U.S. inflation rate surges to 6.6% based on PCE index — but there’s a silver lining

The data comes ahead of next week’s two-day Fed meeting, which many expect will conclude with a 50 basis-point interest-rate increase. Still to come Friday is the University of Michigan consumer sentiment index for April.

Tech stocks, whose earnings have dominated the week, are expected to drive much of the action on Friday. Apple Inc. AAPL, -0.78% stock edged up 0.6% after the tech giant topped earnings and set a revenue record, but warned of billions in added costs from supply-chain woes.

And Inc. AMZN, -12.30% reported its first loss in seven years and executives said it would look to cut costs. Those shares fell 11%.

Investors were weighing up results from Chevron Corp. CVX, -1.17%, Exxon Mobil Corp. XOM, -0.35%, Honeywell International Inc. HON, +3.64%, AbbVie Inc. ABBV, -8.58% and Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. BMY, -2.64%.

Elsewhere, the dollar DXY, -0.44% was paring strength after Thursday’s massive rally.

Asian markets got a lift after China’s top policy-making body vowed to set up policy support for the economy as the country battles COVID outbreaks.

Which companies are in focus?
Other assets
  • The yield on the 10-year Treasury note  TMUBMUSD10Y, 2.899% jumped 4.7 basis points to 2.905%, following the latest inflation data. Yields and debt prices move opposite each other.
  • Oil futures pushed higher, with the U.S. benchmark  CL.1, +1.39% up 1.2.% to $106.54 a barrel. Gold futures  GC00, +0.84% climbed 1% to $1,912.70 an ounce.
  • Bitcoin  BTCUSD, -2.20% fell 2% to trade near $38,974.
  • The Stoxx Europe 600  SXXP, +0.69% rose 0.9%, while London’s FTSE 100  UKX, +0.36% advanced 0.4%.
  • The Shanghai Composite  SHCOMP, +2.41% climbed 2.4%, while the Hang Seng Index  HSI, +4.01% in Hong Kong jumped 4% and Japan’s Nikkei 225  NIK, +1.75% was closed for a national holiday.

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