Markets Right Now: Stocks swing back to gains, Dow up 50

Wall Street struggles for direction amid Dow's volatile week

Nevertheless, Wall Street's "fear gauge" soared 67.9% this week - its biggest one-week gain since the August 2015 "flash crash".

During Friday's session, the S&P 500 briefly broke below its 200-day moving average, a closely watched technical level, before rising.

The last one happened during the 2008 financial crisis and lasted until March 2009 when the S&P sank almost 57 percent from peak to trough, according to Yardeni Research. At another it was up 500. Eastern Time. The Dow tumbled 272 points, or 1.1%, to 23,587. It just seems like a major contraction because for the past couple years, the market has essentially gone straight up. In total, the Dow has shed more than 2,000 points in the first week of February trading.

"The market had gotten way ahead of itself", said Nancy Tengler, chief investment officer of Heartland Financial.

Although the weekly losses came close to the scary days of the crisis, the market and economy are in vastly better shape than in 2008.

American employers are hiring at a healthy pace, with unemployment at a 17-year low of 4.1 percent. But stock prices climbed faster than profits in recent years.

Illustrating the speed of this week's drop, Ryan Detrick, a senior market strategist at LPL Financial, noted that it was the first time the S&P 500 corrected 10% from an all-time high within nine days.

Since the S&P 500 index peaked on January 26, the market has lost more than $3 trillion in total value.

"There is a lot of concern in the rising yield in the 10-year Treasury note", said David Kass, professor of finance at the University of Maryland.

That's good for the economy, but investors anxious that rising wages will hurt corporate profits and could signal an increase in inflation.

Congress passed a two-year $400 billion spending bill. The federal budget deficit could top $1 trillion in fiscal 2019, according to Bank of America. Rates may have to go up to attract buyers for those bonds.

Investors have clearly been in a selling mood in the aftermath of the tax cuts.

Stack isn't predicting a bear market yet because the economy is so strong.

"You are at full employment, and the government is engaging in significant fiscal stimulus", Brown said.

Oil prices fell for a sixth straight day, resulting in black gold's worst week in two years.

You can see on the chart above that the Dow has gone through similar occurrences before, including in late 2015 and early 2016.

Oil sank as record-high US crude output added to concerns about a sharp rise in global supplies.

FedEx and UPS dropped more than 3 percent after the latest reports that Amazon.com Inc will be launching its own delivery service.

Stocks are opening higher on Wall Street as the stock market recovers some of the massive losses it has suffered over the past week.

The Standard & Poor's 500 index, the benchmark for many index funds, also wavered between gains and losses. Such a dramatic swing in the span of just two weeks is very rare. Stay calm and keep your eye on your long-term investing goals.

The price of gold rose $4.40, or 0.3 percent, to $1,319 an ounce.

"When equity valuations get out of line with fundamentals, like earnings and dividends, prices correct accordingly", he said. "The Canadian index is probably likely to take longer to rebound than the US indices will, just given that the risk that NAFTA is going to be abolished seems to be increasing with time rather than decreasing".

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