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S&P 500 Stumbles as Selling Into Strength Continues

Stock MarketsJan 20, 2022 16:10
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By Yasin Ebrahim – The S&P 500 ended sharply lower Thursday, paced by a slump in consumer discretionary stocks, and fresh weakness in tech after the sector failed to hold onto intraday gains for the second day in a row. 

The S&P 500 fell 1.1%, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.9%, or 313 points, the Nasdaq slipped 1.3%.

Consumer discretionary stocks were led lower by (NASDAQ:AMZN), Garmin (NYSE:GRMN), and VF Corporation (NYSE:VFC) as sentiment turned negative on risk assets late in the session.  

Financials struggled to hold onto gains even as investors digested better-than-expected quarterly results from the sector, and bought the recent dip in bank stocks.

The Travelers Companies (NYSE:TRV) jumped more than 3% after the insurance company delivered blowout quarterly results that beat on the top and bottom lines, led by gains in premiums written.

State Street (NYSE:STT), and Bank of New York Mellon (NYSE:BK) -- both of which were under pressure a day earlier following quarterly earnings that fell short of Wall Street forecasts - gained more than 1%.

M&T Bank (NYSE:MTB) and Regional Financials, however, were in the red, after quarterly results missed analysts’ expectations.

In tech, investors continued to sell into strength as the sector pared gains to end the day in negative ahead of the start of quarterly results from big tech, with Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX) set to report after closing bell.

Ahead of Netflix's results, some on Wall Street have turned less constructive on the steaming media giant’s performance during the fiscal quarter, citing third-party data pointing to underwhelming subscriber additional in the quarter.

“As most Netflix data watchers have noticed, third party data that is used to gauge 4Q net adds has not been encouraging,” Deutsche Bank said in a note last week.

“Our analysis of Google (NASDAQ:GOOGL) trends data leads us to lower our 4Q net add estimate to 7.25 million, as compared to guidance of 8.5 million,” it added.

Energy stocks were pressured by falling oil prices amid data showing that U.S. weekly crude supplies unexpectedly rose.

On the economic front, weekly jobless claims expectedly increased, though economists downplayed the upside surprise, citing the impact of the omicron.

Initial jobless claims rose 55,000 to 286,000 in the week ending Jan.15, a three-month high, confounding expectations for a decline to 225,000.

“It is likely that business disruptions due to the spread of the Omicron variant of COVID had an impact on the data this week. We suspect that these disruptions will prove to be short-lived, but they will create some volatility in the next couple of weeks,” Jefferies said in a note.

In other news, Peloton Interactive (NASDAQ:PTON) is reportedly planning to temporarily stop production of connected fitness products amid waning demand, CNBC reported, citing internal documents. Its shares fell 24%.

S&P 500 Stumbles as Selling Into Strength Continues

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