Thursday, March 31, 2022

DJIA: 34,678.35, down 550.46
S&P 500: 4,530.41, down 72.04
Nasdaq: 14,220.52, down 221.75
Stocks cap downbeat quarter with monthly gains

U.S. equities finished firmly lower on Thursday, capping their worst quarterly performance since 2020. The S&P 500 fell 1.6% for the day, and snapped a seven-quarter winning streak with a 5% decline during the January-March period. The Dow slumped 550 points, while the Nasdaq Composite lost 1.5%, with both benchmarks extending their quarterly losses to 4.6% and 9.1%, respectively. Still, all three major averages notched their first monthly gains of 2022, with the Dow climbing 2.3% in March, the S&P 500 rising 3.6%, and the Nasdaq Composite adding 3.4%.

Treasuries strengthened, with the yield on the 10-year note down one basis point (0.01%) to 2.33%. The benchmark yield declined for a fourth straight session, though posted its largest quarterly gain since 1994 having jumped 0.82% year-to-date. In commodities, West Texas Intermediate crude retreated 6.7% to $100.63/barrel after the Biden administration announced plans to release as much as 180 million barrels of oil from U.S. reserves over the coming months in an effort to ease surging gasoline prices.

All 11 S&P 500 sectors finished in negative territory, with Financials leading laggards. In earnings, Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc. lost 5.7% as a stagnant full-year outlook overshadowed otherwise positive quarterly results. Elsewhere, Advanced Micro Devices Inc. and Dell Technologies each fell more than 7% following separate analyst downgrades.

On the data front, the core PCE (personal consumption expenditures) deflator climbed 5.4% year-over-year, posting the biggest jump since 1983 after accelerating from the January’s 5.2% annual increase. Separately, personal income climbed 0.5% last month, while personal spending rose a smaller-than-forecasted 0.2% during the period after surging 2.7% in January.

Read more about it here.