DJIA: 33,614.80, down 179.86
S&P 500: 4,328.87, down 34.62
Nasdaq: 13,313.44, down 224.50
Stocks fall; commodities spike
U.S. stocks finished firmly lower Friday as geopolitical risks stoked inflationary worries. The Dow shed 179 points, registering its fourth consecutive weekly decline (-1.3%), its longest losing streak since November. The S&P 500 fell 0.8%, while the Nasdaq Composite slid 1.7%, with the benchmarks weathering weekly pullbacks of 1.3% and 2.8%, respectively. Overseas, the Euro STOXX 600 retreated 7% for the week, its worst performance since March 2020.
Pressuring investor sentiment was news that Russian troops had seized Europe’s largest nuclear power plant, located in Ukraine. A fire broke out due to the attack, though officials reported that “essential” equipment had not been damaged. Amid the perceived risk-off tone, the yield on the 10-year note declined 23 basis points (0.23%) this week to 1.74%, while a gauge of the U.S. dollar jumped nearly 2%. Meanwhile, commodities extended their torrid run-up. West Texas Intermediate crude capped its best week since April 2020, surging roughly 26% to $115.49/barrel. Wheat futures soared a record 40% this week to the highest level since 2008 amid supply concerns.
Six of 11 S&P 500 sectors closed in negative territory, with Energy and traditionally defensive groups bucking the downtrend. Financials lagged, with the KBW Bank Index retreating 3.4%. In earnings, Broadcom Inc. gained 3% following positive results. Still, the Philadelphia Semiconductor Index briefly dipped into bear market territory, defined as a 20% drop from a recent peak.
On the data front, non-farm payrolls increased by 678,000 in February, well above estimates and the prior month’s 481,000 increase. The unemployment rate dropped to 3.8%, while wage inflation climbed 5.1% year-over-year, easing from January’s 5.5% annual advance.
Read more about it here.