Stocks moved lower on Wednesday as Wall Street struggled to extend its rally amid a sharp rise in Treasury yields.
The Nasdaq Composite lost 0.85% to close at 10,680.51. The S&P 500 ticked down 0.67% to 3,695.16. The Dow Jones Industrial Average slipped 99.99 points, or 0.33%, to finish the day at 30,423.81. The losses ended a two-day winning streak, though all three averages are still up for the week.
Earnings season is off to a solid start, but Treasury yields remained elevated on Wednesday, suggesting that recession fears are still intact. The 10-year Treasury yield traded as high as 4.136%, the highest level since July 23, 2008.
"If you keep things simple and say the 10-year Treasury is the risk-free rate that basically the majority of other asset classes in the world are priced off of ... that is going to cause choppy markets across the board," Keith Lerner, co-CIO and chief market strategist at Truist Advisory Services, said of the bond market volatility.
"The market is overall hanging in there somewhat, I don't want to say well, but not as bad as it could be given that 4% is a demarcation line that has really pressured equities," Lerner added.
The impact of higher rates is being shown sharply in the housing market, where housing starts fell faster than expected in September, the Census Bureau said on Wednesday.
The rate move also weighed on more speculative tech stocks. Among the biggest losers in the Nasdaq were Chinese tech stocks JD.com, falling more than 7%, and Baidu, sinking 8.8%.
The declines for the broader market came even as Netflix shares rallied more than 13% after the streaming giant posted earnings and revenue that beat estimates as well as strong subscriber growth for the third quarter. United Airlines climbed nearly 5% after its quarter also beat estimates on the top and bottom lines.
Abbott Labs leads list of 9 new S&P 500 52-week lows; Northrop among 2 new highs
The following stocks made new 52-week lows in the S&P 500 on Wednesday:
- Abbott Labs (ABT) traded at lowest since July, 2020
- CarMax (KMX) April, 2020
- Northern Trust (NTRS), Oct. 2020
- Catalent (CTLT) June, 2020
- Generac (GNRC) June, 2020
- Hasbro (HAS) May, 2020
- Pool Corp (POOL) Sept., 2020
- Comerica (CMA) Aug., 2021
- SVB Financial Group (SIVB) Nov. 2020
The only two new highs were:
- Northrop Grumman (NOC) rose to an all-time high Wednesday, measured back to the original merger of Northrop Aircraft and Grumman Aerospace in 1994
- Globe Life (GL) also touched an all-time high, dating back the formation of Torchmark Corp. in 1980
— Scott Schnipper and Christopher Hayes
Stocks fall, winning streak ends at two
Stocks closed lower on Wednesday, ending the minor win streak that started this week.
The Nasdaq was the worst performer, falling nearly 1%. Stocks were under pressure throughout the day whenever Treasury yields moved higher. The 10-year yield hit its highest intraday level since 2008.
— Jesse Pound
Natural gas down 15% so far this week and on pace for 9th straight weekly decline
November natural gas futures tumbled almost 5% Wednesday and are now down more than 15% week-to-date.
Barring a rebound, natgas will drop for a ninth straight week — the longest such decline since early 1991. Nevertheless, natgas remains more than 46% higher so far in 2022.
Elsewhere in commodities, November orange juice futures hit their highest in almost six years, reaching 212 cents per pound in the wake of last month's Hurricane Ian. OJ is higher by 50.7% year to date.
— Scott Schnipper and Gina Francolla
Tesla earnings on deck
There is another batch of earnings reports due after the bell, with Tesla as the headliner. The electric vehicle stock has dropped more than 36% this year but still has a market cap of nearly $700 billion.
Investors will be looking for updates on demand and on Tesla's progress in expanding its manufacturing footprint. Shares of Tesla were up less than 1% in afternoon trading.
— Jesse Pound
S&P 500 has had fewest up days since 1974, according to LPL Financial
Amid a year of intense volatility, the S&P 500 has seen a positive daily return only 43.5% of the time year to date, according to an analysis from LPL Financial.
"Years with such low percentages of up days unsurprisingly normally do end underwater, with only 1982 managing a positive return after so few up days," analyst George Smith wrote in a Wednesday note. The percentage of up days this year is the lowest the index has seen since 1974, when the market ended the year down nearly 30%, Smith wrote.
That weak day-to-day performance does not necessarily mean stocks are in for a long bear market.
"The good news from this data is that the year following on from one with such few up days tends to see well above average returns, with an average and median return of 12% and 17% respectively," Smith wrote.
He added that investors should treat this data with caution. There is a small sample size, and a wide range of returns for the following year ranging from -29.7% to up 44.1%.
Biotech stocks struggle on Wednesday
Biotech stocks have been some of the worst performing stocks on Wednesday, as rising yields put pressure on stocks whose profits are expected to be far off in the future.
Shares of Moderna fell more than 8%, while Biogen and Illumina each lost more than 2%.
Even Novavax, which received CDC approval on Wednesday for its Covid 19 shot to be used as a booster regardless of prior vaccines received, fell more than 3%.
More established health care stocks were also under pressure, with Amgen and Merck among the worst performers in the Dow.
Fed's Kashkari said more rate hikes needed as inflation shows no sign of ending
Minneapolis Federal Reserve President Neel Kashkari said Wednesday he sees no signs that inflation is slowing, so the central bank will need to keep raising interest rates.
Specifically, he said core inflation, or prices excluding volatile food and energy, keeps rising. Kashkari said services and wage inflation are pushing higher, two key elements that he is watching for direction on monetary policy.
"I'm looking for some evidence that those have in effect stopped climbing. I haven't seen that evidence yet," he said during a Q&A session aired on the Minneapolis Fed site. "Until those stop climbing, I can't see how I can recommend pausing interest rate increases."
Kashkari spoke the same day the Fed's "Beige Book" report on regional economic conditions characterized inflation as "elevated" through showing "some easing" in areas.
Economy growing 'modestly' as inflation, interest rates crimp activity, Fed report says
The U.S. economy "expanded modestly" over the past six weeks as consumer spending tailed off and rental prices rose, according to the Federal Reserve's latest economic summary.
Inflation continued to be "elevated," though there were some signs of cooling, according to the central bank's "Beige Book" report, which surveys activity across the Fed's 12 districts, with a focus on the labor market and inflation.
The report noted that the pace of economic growth was uneven across the country, with areas reporting that higher interest rates, inflation and supply chain disruptions held back activity.
"Retail spending was relatively flat, reflecting lower discretionary spending, and auto dealers noted sustained sluggishness in sales stemming from limited inventories, high vehicle prices, and rising interest rates," the report said. Fed districts reported robust travel and tourist activity.
On the labor front, several regions said they had seen a decline in labor demand as the Fed raises interest rates in an effort to cool a job market that still has about 1.7 job vacancies for every available worker.
Stocks making the biggest moves midday
Here are the companies making headlines in midday trading.
- Generac — Shares were trading down 25% after the company cut its expected full-year revenue growth to a range of 22% to 24%, down from 36% to 40%, which is also below Wall Street expectations. The power company also reported preliminary third-quarter results, with earnings per share expected to come in at $1.75 compared to the $3.21 estimate.
- Netflix — Shares of the streaming media company soared more than 13% after the firm on Tuesday posted better-than-expected results on the top and bottom lines. Netflix also reported the addition of 2.41 million net global subscribers, more than doubling the adds the company had projected a quarter ago.
- Intuitive Surgical — Shares of the medical equipment maker rose 8.9% after the company on Tuesday posted quarterly earnings and revenue that came in slightly higher than expected, according to FactSet. Intuitive also reported growth in its da Vinci procedures of about 20% compared with the third quarter of 2021.
— Sarah Min
Analysts confident in Microsoft ahead of earnings
Headwinds for Microsoft this earnings season may be offset by its cloud computing business, Azure, analysts said this week. The tech giant is set to report its fiscal first-quarter earnings on Tuesday.
"Currency and PC headwinds are likely to impact MSFT's FQ1 results and may drive reported results below consensus again. That said, our reseller survey and partner checks give us confidence that Enterprise demand for MSFT is holding up well, with record partner quota/accelerator achievement levels and incremental signs of Azure demand strength," Citi analyst Tyler Radke wrote Tuesday.
Analysts at Goldman Sachs expect currency volatility to come in 100 basis points better than Microsoft management's expectation of a 500-point headwind. Microsoft is also anticipating that its software revenue will slow and has laid off workers.
"While we view a potential step-down in expectations across software to be well-received by investors, we note that our checks indicate healthy business activity in the broader commercial business, especially within Azure where companies are looking to cloud offerings as they too face challenges in acquiring IT equipment," Goldman analyst Kash Rangan wrote in a new Wednesday.
— Michelle Fox
Bullishness rebounds in latest Investors Intelligence survey
The percentage of bullish financial newsletter editors rebounded to 31.3% in the latest Investors Intelligence survey, up from a six-year low of 25% the week before. The mid-June reading was 26.5%. The high for the year was 45.1% in August during the summer stock market rally.
By contrast, bullishness got to almost 64% in April 2021 and north of 61% in July 2021.
Bears fell to 40.3% in the latest survey from 44.1% the week before, which matched their mid-June high. As II points out, lots of bears also equals lots of cash on the sidelines, offering added firepower if only part of it returns to stocks.
Even at the peak of Covid-related bearishness in March 2020, bears never got above 41.7%.
More bears than bulls also means less risk in the stock market, II says. That was rare in the entire period after the Global Financial Crisis of 2008-2009, but bears have now outnumbered bulls for a fifth straight week in September-October 2022.
— Scott Schnipper
ETF efficiency dipped during volatile September
A rising number of exchange traded funds have struggled to match the value of their underlying holdings during the recent bout of market volatility, according to a note from CFRA.
"For Equity ETFs, on average, over the month of September, 59% of ETFs stayed in close proximity (+/- 25 bps) to their NAV, which shows a sharp decline compared to 76% for the month of August. Heightened volatility is the reason behind the decline in ETF price efficiency," the note said.
Bond ETFs also showed a month-over-month decline in efficiency, according to CFRA. In both groups, ETFs were more likely to trade under their net asset value than at a premium.
— Jesse Pound
Stocks turn solidly lower
Stocks have fallen to their lows of the day as U.S. Treasury yields continue to climb. The Nasdaq Composite is down 1.5%, while the Dow is off by 150 points.
— Jesse Pound
Ark stocks underperforming
While the major averages have held near the flatline on Wednesday, some of the more speculative stock names are underperforming.
For example, the Ark Invest Innovation ETF is down 3% in midday trading. Of the fund's top 10 holdings, only Tesla is positive for the day.
Meanwhile, crypto brokerage stock Coinbase has fallen more than 3%, and diagnostics company Exact Sciences has seen its shares slide more than 7% on the session.
— Jesse Pound
Alphabet's cost-cutting is in focus, Bank of America says
Bank of America's Alphabet analysts said they will look for clarity on the tech giant's cost-cutting action Tuesday next week when it reports quarterly results.
"We think Alphabet has significant cost and buyback flexibility to help maintain EPS growth in 2023," the analysts said in a note Wednesday. "Recent press reports have suggested Google executives have warned employees on possible layoffs and the need to cut costs, and we think the Street will be looking for evidence of efforts to preserve margins on the call."
In July, Alphabet reported its second consecutive quarter of weaker-than-expected earnings and revenue, and third-quarter sales growth is expected to dip into the single digits, down from more than 40% a year earlier.
— Yun Li
S&P 500 has short-term upside, technical strategist says
The sharp rally from Monday has slowed down as the week has gone on, but stocks still have near-term upside, according to Katie Stockton of Fairlead Strategies.
"The oversold bounce behind the major indices is taking pause, but we expect it to regain hold by the end of the week with our short-term indicators pointing higher," the technical strategist said in a note to clients on Wednesday.
Stockton said the S&P 500 was set up to possibly test the 3,914 level, which is about 5% above where the index was trading late Wednesday morning, before resuming its downward trend.
— Jesse Pound, Fred Imbert
Ally shares tumble after posting third-quarter earnings miss on impairment charge
Shares of Ally Financial fell 6% in morning trading after posting disappointing third-quarter results.
Ally's third-quarter report, disclosed early Wednesday, included a 33-cent per share impairment charge tied to the firm's mortgage unit, as well as a $438 million provision for credit losses. That led to a miss on both profit and revenue for the quarter, according to StreetAccount estimates.
Known primarily as an auto lender and online bank, analysts are watching how the company navigates weakening credit trends, particularly among subprime borrowers. Default rates on auto loans have begun to rise from historically low levels as Americans spend down balances fattened during the pandemic.
The bank also said Tuesday that its CFO was departing, a move that caught some off guard given its timing shortly ahead of Ally's earnings release.
"This announcement, one day prior to the expected earnings release tomorrow morning, comes as a surprise and likely will cause some uncertainty in the market," Piper Sandler analyst Kevin Barker wrote Tuesday in a note. "We have been concerned about Ally's balance sheet position heading into the current economic cycle with deposit costs rising rapidly, default rates rising in auto loans and ALLY's leverage at the higher end."
Shares of the bank fell as much as 11% earlier in Wednesday's trading session and have lost 42% this year.
Stocks turn green
The major averages flipped into positive territory about an hour after the market open. The move coincided with Treasury yields easing from their earlier levels, though the 10-year Treasury yield is still higher for the day.
The Dow is leading the way, up more than 100 points. Netflix has extended its rally to more than 15%.
— Jesse Pound
JPMorgan lifts Robinhood's price target, but stock is still expected to slide further
The online stock trading platform Robinhood had its price target slightly lifted by JPMorgan. But the firm still views the stock as underperforming and expects it to fall another 23% in 2023.
Analyst Kenneth Worthington said the stock's short-term outlook was helped by better trading volume, especially among higher-revenue index options, in September. He also said the company was boosted by short-term tailwinds like higher rates that would increase earnings and better cash treatment.
Still, he said those near-term aids do not change the fact that long-term profitability of stock is "elusive." Robinhood is part of a group of companies that went public through initial public offerings during the pandemic but are now struggling.
"While the founders have leveraged innovation, guts, and ideal market conditions to build a leading US retail broker, we do not see growth as sustainable," he said in a note to clients. "We question the ability of the company to generate competitive margins over time given the focus on such small accounts that have limited room to be profitable."
Robinhood is down 41.2% percent this year. The stock has plummeted more than 80% from its high of just over $55 seen in October 2021, which came a few months after it went public at a price of $38 that July.
— Alex Harring
Shares of Plug Power fall despite optimistic Street call
Jefferies initiated coverage on Plug Power with a buy rating, although the positive call wasn't enough to counteract broad selling on Wednesday, and shares of the fuel-cell maker slid more than 6%.
Still, the firm said Plug Power should benefit from its leadership position within the hydrogen value chain.
"While the growth plan is capital intensive, we believe the current 2025 targets can be exceeded, aided by the new production tax credit (PTC)," the firm said in an Oct. 18 note to clients. "Execution will be crucial, but the order book and key customer relationships bolster our confidence," analysts led by Sam Burwell added.
Jefferies has a $28 target on the stock, which is about 56% above where shares traded Wednesday. For the year the stock is down more than 30%.
— Pippa Stevens
Generac sliding after big guidance cut
Generac shares sank nearly 20% to a 52-week low after the power company cut its profit outlook in nearly half.
The company's full-year revenue growth is now expected to come in at 22% to 24%, compared to a prior forecast of 36% to 40%. That means revenue growth is now more likely to fall below Wall Street expectations of 38%.
It follows similarly downtrodden third-quarter guidance as the company expects earnings per share at $1.75 compared to an estimate of $3.21. Revenue is also expected to be more than $200 million below estimates at $1.09 billion. Earnings for the quarter are expected to be released on Nov. 2.
Company leadership pointed to residential product demand slides and a partner's bankruptcy that hurt shipments. Known for its generators, the company was expected to perform well following Hurricane Ian.
— Alex Harring, Robert Hum
If you think Black Monday was bad, this year has been even worse
If you think things were bad when the stock market crashed on this day back in 1987, they're actually worse now.
That's because a day that saw a 22.6% collapse in the Dow Jones Industrial Average actually was part of a pretty good year otherwise.
"Moving to the present day, 2022 has actually been worse than 1987," Bespoke Investment Group said in its morning note Wednesday.
A day after the Oct. 19, 1987 Black Monday crash, the S&P 500 was off less than 8% year to date. That compares to a 22% drop in the present day, more than twice the slide of 1987 even after the large-cap index has gained nearly 4% over the past week.
Also of note: The S&P 500 finished 1987 only slightly lower on a nominal basis and actually was positive in terms of total return, or with dividends reinvested. The market itself also recovered nicely from the crash and has offered investors solid returns since.
"Since the close on 10/19/87, the S&P 500 has had an annualized total return of 10.71%. Even more notable, though, is that had you invested in the S&P 500 on the Friday before the crash, [your] annualized total return over that span would have still been just short of 10% (9.99%)," Bespoke noted. "Not bad for the worst-timed trade of all time."
Spirit Airlines gives JetBlue takeover the stamp of approval
Spirit Airlines' shareholders have approved a takeover by JetBlue. The deal ends a six-month battle over creating what will be the fifth-largest air carrier.
Shares of Spirit and JetBlue were up less than 1% in early trading.
—Carmen Reinicke, Leslie Josephs
Stocks open lower
The major averages fell at the open, with the Nasdaq Composite the worst performer with a loss of nearly 0.7%. The Dow was flirting with positive territory after opening down about 100 points.
— Jesse Pound
Evercore ISI downgrades Lowe's as home improvement demand slows
Evercore ISI downgraded shares of Lowe's on Wednesday as the home improvement industry shows signs of a demand slowdown.
"Lowe's is above average in pricing power and is clearly benefiting from the housing shortage/home price improvements," wrote analyst Greg Melich in a note to clients as he downgraded the stock to in line. "Our downgrade is based on the view that slower HI demand and disinflation could push comps lower in 2023, making margin gains muted."
Shares of Lowe's fell 2.4% in premarket trading. CNBC Pro subscribers can read the full story here.
— Samantha Subin
Morgan Stanley is standing by Apple heading into earnings season
Morgan Stanley is thinking positive heading into Apple's third quarter earnings, due Oct. 27 after market close. While the bank doesn't expect the report to answer all investor questions, it does anticipate some solid numbers.
"We believe the setup into Apple's September quarter earnings report next week is constructive, as our September quarter revenue forecast of $90.1B implies 2% upside to Street forecasts, while our $133.7B December quarter revenue forecast implies 4% upside to consensus," wrote analyst Erik Woodring in a Wednesday note.
Three key factors are driving his more constructive outlook – stable production of the iPhone, iPad and Mac, the record iPhone mix shift more than offsets currency headwinds and service and product growth should be solid and even above seasonality for the quarter.
"Combined, these factors create a compelling setup where Apple grows revenue HSD Y/Y in both the Sept and Dec quarters (despite a 5-6 pt. FX headwind) while revenue for the rest of our consumer hardware universe is expected to decline 13% Y/Y and 9% Y/Y on average in C3Q and C4Q, respectively," he said.
United jumps more than 5% after strong earnings
Shares of United Airlines rose more than 5% in premarket trading after the travel company beat estimates on top and bottom lines for the third quarter and delivered upbeat guidance.
The company earned an adjusted $2.81 per share on $12.88 billion of revenue. Analysts surveyed by Refinitiv had penciled in $2.28 per share on $12.75 billion.
Total revenue per available seat mile was up 25.5% compared to the same period in 2019, United said. CEO Scott Kirby said that hybrid work appears to be boosting demand for flights.
— Jesse Pound
Housing starts continue to slow
Housing starts fell more than expected in September, dropping 8.1% month over month to an annualized rate of 1.44 million. Economists surveyed by Dow Jones were expecting a 6.7% decline.
Building permits rose 1.4%, but that was below the 1.5% expected.
The residential real estate sector has been hit particularly hard by the Fed's rate hikes this year. Mortgage rates have soared, making homebuilders wary increasing supply.
Interest rates still a risk for stocks, says Goldman's Kostin
High interest rates will likely keep this week's stock rally from turning into a more lasting period of strength, Goldman Sachs chief U.S. equity strategist David Kostin said in a note to clients on Tuesday evening.
"Equities have not yet fully priced the rapid rise in interest rates year to date and will continue to digest interest rate moves in the months ahead. ... Until economic data improves, our baseline forecast is that elevated rates will keep the S&P 500 P/E multiple hovering around 15x," Kostin said.
Kostin also said that recommends a generally defensive portfolio of stocks for this environment but cautioned that utilities names look expensive at current levels.
— Jesse Pound, Michael Bloom
Yields rise, with 2-year Treasury topping 4.5%
Yields moved higher on Wednesday morning, with the entire Treasury curve moving up.
The 2-year Treasury yield, which is seen as highly sensitive to the path of Federal Reserve policy, pushed above 4.5%. The benchmark 10-year Treasury rose nearly 9 basis points to 4.086%. A basis point is equal to 0.01 percentage points, and yields move opposite of price.
The rise in yields could be the culprit for the swoon in futures this morning. Higher interest rates have weighed on stocks all year, particularly growth-oriented tech names.
— Jesse Pound
Procter & Gamble pops on strong earnings
Procter & Gamble posted quarterly numbers that beat analyst expectations, sending the stock up 2%.
The consumer goods giant earned per share of $1.57 on revenue of $20.61 billion. Analysts expected the company to report earnings of $1.54 per share on revenue of $20.28 billion, according to Refinitiv.
Organic revenue, which strips out the impact of acquisitions, divestitures and foreign currency, rose 7%.
— Amelia Lucas
What Wall Street analysts have to say about Netflix's quarter
Many analysts cheered Netflix's quarterly results, which could signal the start of a bigger turnaround for the streaming giant.
Deutsche Bank analyst Bryan Kraft also upgraded Netflix to buy, noting that there's now "visibility into a subscriber growth inflection point next year given that Netflix management has confirmed both the early 2023 introduction of its new measures designed to better monetize account sharing."
JPMorgan's Doug Anmuth also upgraded the stock to overweight from neutral, noting that he sees the company's crackdown on password sharing and new advertising initiatives as tools to help the company accelerate revenue growth.
CNBC Pro subscribers can read more here.
— Sam Subin
European markets: Here are the opening calls
European markets are heading for a higher open on Wednesday, looking to build on gains in the previous session.
The U.K.'s FTSE index is expected to open 17 points higher at 6,960, the German DAX up 29 points at 12,824 and the French CAC up 12 points at 6,090, according to data from IG.
— Hannah Ward-Glenton
CNBC Pro: Goldman Sachs outlines four economic scenarios and predicts how gold will perform in each
It's been a choppy year for gold, with the precious metal "torn between growth and inflation risks and higher real rates and the strong dollar," Goldman analysts wrote in an Oct. 11 note.
"In our view, there remains a lot of uncertainty around the future path of U.S. inflation, growth, rates and the central bank (CB)'s reaction functions."
Goldman ran four different economic scenarios, and predicted where gold prices could end up in each case.
— Weizhen Tan
U.S. crude futures move up $1 per barrel on expectations that Biden will release oil from Strategic Petroleum Reserve
Futures of West Texas Intermediate crude moved up around $1, or 1.33% and futures of Brent crude rose $0.83, or 0.92% as the Biden administration is expected to release more oil from the U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve.
The plan could be announced as early as Wednesday, sources told CNBC.
The move aims to extend the current SPR delivery program, which began this spring, through December, the sources said.
–Kayla Tausche, Jihye Lee
Company earnings are beating expectations
Of the 9.15% of S&P 500 companies that have reported earnings so far this season, 70% of them have posted positive surprises, according to data from FactSet.
Earnings expectations have been lowered considerably and the market is braced for a good amount of negative news in earnings season, Yung-Yu Ma, BMO Wealth Management chief investment strategist, told CNBC.
However, he added, "to the extent that that doesn't actually transpire, that we get more of a nuanced message that companies on average are doing okay, okay is still pretty good in an environment where the market is braced for volatility, turmoil, slowing growth, declines and a challenging environment."
— Tanaya Macheel
Netflix pops after hours on earnings
Shares of the streaming giant Netflix jumped in extended trading after it reported quarterly results, including the addition of 2.41 million net global subscribers, which is more than twice what it projected a quarter ago.
Stock futures open higher Tuesday night
Stock futures opened higher Tuesday evening after the major averaged posted a second straight day of gains and Netflix reported strong earnings after the bell.
Futures tied to the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 124 points, or 0.4%. S&P 500 futures gained 0.7% and Nasdaq 100 futures jumped 1.2%.
— Tanaya Macheel