May 26, 2022

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Tech stocks lead slump on Wall Street

Wall Street’s key benchmarks faltered on Thursday, capping back-to-back sessions of gains on the heels of a slew of strong tech earnings, as sentiment waned following dismal results from Facebook that sent shares of the company spiraling along with other tech peers.

A recent winning streak in equities was eclipsed by disappointing fourth quarter results from the platform’s parent company Meta (FB), which unveiled figures that missed estimates after the bell on Wednesday. The Q4 report sent shares tumbling more than 26% — and also hammered other technology stocks — marking the biggest single-day wipeout in market history.

The Nasdaq Composite plunged 538.73 points to end 3.74% lower, while the S&P 500 fell 2.44% into the red. The Dow Jones Industrial Average also closed down 518.17 points, or 1.45%, lower.

Meanwhile, WTI crude oil topped $90 a barrel for the first time since 2014 amid continued global supply constraints and geopolitical tensions.

Meta reported Q1 2022 revenue, a key figure for stock watchers, that came up short, with the company estimating between $27 billion to $29 billion in the current quarter, below analysts’ expectations of $30.25 billion. The company’s ability to continue to navigate Apple’s (AAPL) recent privacy changes that allow iOS users to opt out of letting their apps track them across the web was also in focus for the near term.

Facebook’s fourth-quarter report comes amid a prolific week in earnings season. Shares of Amazon (AMZN), which disclosed figures after market close on Thursday, surged 15% in post-market trading after the company reported a 9% sales increase during the last three months of 2021 and a jump in profit attributed to its deal with Rivian (RIVN). The e-commerce giant’s results mark the last of five corporate heavyweights that account for about one-quarter of the S&P 500’s total market capitalization for this earnings season. Earlier this week, Alphabet (GOOGL) rallied after the company topped quarterly sales and profit estimates and announced a 20-for-1 stock split.

In a discussion with Yahoo Finance Live on why Facebook and other social media stocks have cratered, Cowen managing director Chris Pollard said: “If we take a step back and we think about why markets have been weak, it’s been the hawkish policy pivot.”

Anxiety around central banking policies rattled markets in January. The S&P 500 posted a negative return of 5.26% for January 2022 – marking its worst month since the benchmark plunged 12.5% in March 2020 after COVID-19 upended the global economy. Meanwhile, the Nasdaq Composite (^IXIC) narrowly avoided its worst-performing January on record after a loss of 8.98% for the month.

LPL Financial chief market strategist Ryan Detrick pointed out that poor January performance has historically been followed by weakness in February. Data collected by LPL going back to 1960 showed that after drops of 5% or more in the S&P 500, February performance has been lower six of the past seven times, with muted returns over the final 11 months of the year. To add to that, February has been one of the worst months of the year for the index since 1950, with only September being worse.

“We are encouraged by the big reversal in stocks last week and we think stocks are in the process of forming a meaningful bottom,” Detrick said in a note. “But the truth is, this year is going to be much more volatile than last year and investors had better buckle up their seat belts if the first month is any indication.”

Investors will continue to weigh Big Tech earnings against a fresh read on the Labor Department’s monthly jobs report expected to show growth likely slowed further in January, reflecting a fuller impact from the Omicron variant.

“It’s one of those things where we’re just going to have to get used to the short but shallow economic damage we saw because of the latest variant,” Art Hogan, B Riley-National chief market strategist, told Yahoo Finance Live.

On Wednesday, the ADP reported that private-sector U.S. employers cut 301,000 jobs in January, marking the first decline since December 2020 as the Omicron variant put a dent in the labor market’s recovery. Consensus economists expect 150,000 non-farm payrolls returned in January, a figure that would mark the slowest pace of hiring since December 2020 as the impact of the latest COVID waves catches up to economic data.

“The takeaway for investors is probably a temporary blip on an otherwise strong recovery we’re seeing in the employment markets,” SEI CIO Jim Smigiel told Yahoo Finance Live. “It’s not too surprising we’re seeing a bit of weakness.”

Jared Bernstein, member of the White House Council of Economic Advisers, emphasized to Yahoo Finance Live that this month’s figures are likely to be “distorted” by a number of Americans who have tested positive for the virus in the latest surge on unpaid leave that are not tracked on the payroll count.

4:25 p.m. ET: Amazon surges in extended trading following upbeat Q4 results

Shares of Amazon (AMZ) surged 15% in post-market trading after the company reported a 9% sales increase during the fourth quarter and a jump in profit attributed to its deal with Rivian (RIVN).

The e-commerce giant also said it will raise its prime membership fee to $139 per year from $119, marking the third time since the launch of Amazon Prime that the company boosted its prices for the yearly delivery service.

Net sales increased 9% to $137.4 billion in the fourth quarter, compared with $125.6 billion in the same period last year. The company’s 1st quarter revenue forecast is for $112 billion-$117 billion. The Street was expecting guidance of $120 billion.

4:00 p.m. ET: Nasdaq plunges 4% in worst drop since March 2020

Here were the main moves in markets at Thursday’s close:

  • S&P 500 (^GSPC): -112.08 (-2.44%) to 4,477.30

  • Dow (^DJI): -518.99 (-1.46%) to 35,110.34

  • Nasdaq (^IXIC): -538.73 (-3.74%) to 13,878.82

  • Crude (CL=F): +$1.88 (+2.13%) to $90.14 a barrel

  • Gold (GC=F): -$4.10 (-0.23%) to $1,806.20 per ounce

  • 10-year Treasury (^TNX): +6.1 bps to yield 1.8270%

3:15 p.m. ET: Crude oil surges past $90 per barrel on supply concerns

WTI crude oil (CL=F) topped $90 a barrel for the first time since 2014 amid continued global supply constraints and geopolitical tensions.

Oil prices have trended upward on expectations that supply will tighten further even after the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC+) producers stuck to planned moderate output increases. OPEC+ agreed on maintaining monthly increases of 400,000 barrels per day (bpd) in output despite pressure from consumers to raise supplies more quickly.

“With OPEC+ unwinding their production cuts, the group’s spare capacity will fall to low levels in 2022. Hopefully by next year there are no mobility restrictions, meaning with the world still expanding oil demand will also rise next year,” UBS commodity analyst Giovanni Staunovo said.

12:24 p.m. ET: Nasdaq leads losses as Facebook wipeout sends other tech stocks cratering

Here were the main moves in markets in midday trading:

  • S&P 500 (^GSPC): -75.43 (-1.64%) to 4,513.95

  • Dow (^DJI): -298.71 (-0.84%) to 35,330.62

  • Nasdaq (^IXIC): -373.87 (-2.59%) to 14,043.67

  • Crude (CL=F): +$0.37 (+0.42%) to $88.63 a barrel

  • Gold (GC=F): -$3.70 (-0.20%) to $1,806.60 per ounce

  • 10-year Treasury (^TNX): +6.3 bps to yield 1.8290%

10:30 a.m. ET: US service sector slows in January: ISM Survey

U.S. services industry activity dropped to an 11-month low in January as a jump in COVID-19 infections hit demand at high contact businesses and kept workers at home.

The Institute for Supply Management said on Thursday its non-manufacturing activity index fell to 59.9 last month, the lowest print since February 2021. ISM reported a read of 62.3 in December.

Consensus economist estimates compiled by Bloomberg projected a print of 59.5. Figures above 50 indicate growth in the services sector, which accounts for more than two-thirds of economic activity in the U.S.

The slowdown in services industry activity marked the latest indication in economic data that Omicron-driven infection put a dent in the recovery’s momentum.

9:55 a.m. ET: Spotify stock craters following ‘eyebrow-raiser’ Q4 results

Spotify (SPOT) shares plunged as much as 15% in morning trading, marking the biggest drop since March 2020 after the company’s quarterly forecasts for users and gross margin fell short of analysts’ expectations.

Several firms on Wall Street trimmed their price targets for the stock, traded down 15.37% to $162.41 per share as of 9:55 a.m. ET. Bloomberg data showed the average price target among analysts is $243.

“The bull case called for 2022 to be the margin inflection year after hefty podcasts commitments in 2020, but that dream is fading,” Wells Fargo wrote in a note. “SPOT will need to show the fruits of these investments to win back the Street.”

The bank also called the gross margin outlook the “eyebrow-raiser” of the report.

Spotify icon displayed on a phone screen is seen in this illustration photo taken in Krakow, Poland on February 3, 2022. (Photo Illustration by Jakub Porzycki/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

9:45 a.m. ET: Meta set for biggest wipeout in market history

Shares of Facebook parent company Meta (FB) fell 25% at Thursday’s open after the platform unveiled disappointing fourth quarter results at market close Wednesday.

Meta reported Q1 2022 revenue, a key figure for stock watchers, that came up short, with the company estimating between $27 billion to $29 billion in the current quarter, below analysts’ expectations of $30.25 billion. The company’s ability to continue to navigate Apple’s (AAPL) recent privacy changes that allow iOS users to opt out of letting their apps track them across the web was also in focus for the near term.

In a statement, CFO David Wehner cited Apple’s (AAPL) iOS privacy changes, inflation, and exchange rates as the biggest headwinds for the company moving forward.

The company also revealed that its user growth has slowed to a little more than a trickle, and said it lost 1 million daily active Facebook users in particular.

9:30 a.m. ET: Stocks plunge at open to cap earlier winning streak

Here were the main moves in markets at Thursday’s open

  • S&P 500 (^GSPC): -66.95 (-1.46%) to 4,522.43

  • Dow (^DJI): -112.23 (-0.31%) to 35,517.10

  • Nasdaq (^IXIC): -365.18 (-2.53%) to 14,052.37

  • Crude (CL=F): -$0.60 (-0.68%) to $87.66 a barrel

  • Gold (GC=F): -$5.30 (-0.29%) to $1,805.00 per ounce

  • 10-year Treasury (^TNX): +7 bps to yield 1.8360%

8:30 a.m. ET: Another 238,000 American filed new claims last week

First-time unemployment filings trended lower last week, suggesting some of the Omicron-related disruptions that have recently weighed on the labor market’s recovery may be easing.

The Labor Department reported jobless claims came in at 238,000 for the week ending Jan. 29, compared to 245,000 expected by economists, according to consensus data compiled by Bloomberg. During the prior week, filings totaled 260,000.

The agency’s latest print shows back-to-back declines in unemployment claims after filings rose to the highest level since October in mid-January, coming in at nearly 300,000. The jump tracked an Omicron-driven spike in coronavirus cases across the U.S. between December and January, which rendered many businesses temporarily closed and employees sick, or concerned over becoming ill at work.

7:21 a.m. ET: Tesla recalls more than 800,000 vehicles over seatbelt alert issue

Tesla Inc. (TSLA) has issued a recall on 817,000 U.S. vehicles because the seatbelt alert may not activate when a vehicle starts to remind the driver to buckle up.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) said the cars fail to comply with a federal motor vehicle safety standard on “Occupant Crash Protection” since the audible alert does not activate. Recalls were made on some 2021-2022 Model S and Model X, 2017-2022 Model 3, and 2020-2022 Model Y vehicles.

The electric-vehicle giant is expected to perform an over-the-air (OTA) software update to address the issue.

Shares of Tesla were down 2.58% in pre-market trading to $882.25 a piece as of 7:21 a.m. ET.

7:00 a.m. ET: US stock futures fall lower in pre-market trading

Here were the main moves in markets ahead of the open Thursday:

  • S&P 500 futures (ES=F): -48.75 points (-1.07%), to 4,528.50

  • Dow futures (YM=F): -94.00 points (-0.26%), to 35,398.00

  • Nasdaq futures (NQ=F): -321.75 points (-2.13%) to 14,792.75

  • Crude (CL=F): -$1.10 (-1.25%) to $87.16 a barrel

  • Gold (GC=F): -$6.50 (-0.36%) to $1,803.80 per ounce

  • 10-year Treasury (^TNX): -3.4 bps to yield 1.7660%

6:03 p.m. ET Wednesday: Nasdaq plunges heading into overnight trading after Facebook miss

Here’s how the main benchmarks fared in extended trading Wednesday evening:

  • S&P 500 futures (ES=F): -32 points (-0.70%), to 4,545.25

  • Dow futures (YM=F): +44 points (+0.12%), to 35,536.00

  • Nasdaq futures (NQ=F): -260.75 points (-1.68%) to 14,853.75

  • Crude (CL=F): -$0.43 (-0.49%) to $87.83 a barrel

  • Gold (GC=F): -$2.70 (-0.15%) to $1,807.60 per ounce

  • 10-year Treasury (^TNX): -3.4 bps to yield 1.7660%

A trader works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange at the closing bell January 14, 2022, in New York, New York. (Photo by TIMOTHY A. CLARY / AFP) (Photo by TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP via Getty Images)

A trader works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange at the closing bell January 14, 2022, in New York, New York. (Photo by TIMOTHY A. CLARY / AFP) (Photo by TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP via Getty Images)

Alexandra Semenova is a reporter for Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter @alexandraandnyc

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