Has The Sell-Off Run Out Of Steam?

We started a new week of trading pretty much where the last one left off: in the red. After the Fed minutes mid-last week showed members openly discussing tightening the $9 trillion balance sheet, the message to market participants was that the Fed was growing more hawkish than previously thought. Traders then went about curbing excesses — especially among growth names pushing indexes toward fresh all-time highs.

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Image Source: Unsplash

For nearly the entire trading day today, that narrative held. The Nasdaq reduced by another -2.7% at its session low, while the Dow hived off 600 points at its intra-day nadir. However, we then saw the Nasdaq rebounding off the 200-day and actually eking out gains for the first time in five trading days, +0.05%. There is still a long way to go to make up the -4.5% the tech-heavy index lost last week, but it’s a start.

The Dow fought back from its lows to close -0.45%, or -162.8 points. The narrative for much of last week had been that the high-flying tech stocks like Salesforce (CRMwere being left in favor of cyclicals like Caterpillar (CAT, but that was a fairly short-lived conceit. Mid-day, it was clear the selling was heavy across the board. That said, the bounce was in for the Dow in the final minutes of the session, but not enough to stop a four-day skid.

For the S&P 500, which closed down -0.14%, the final hour of trading resembled something of a rally — the index closed nearer to breakeven than at any point during the trading day, by a lot. Yet it remained in the red as of the bell, representing its fifth straight trading day in the red. The S&P is now back trading at levels we saw during Christmas Week, but obviously pointed in the wrong direction.

That 10-year bond yield rate hovered near 1.77% today — high by recent standards, but historically not an unreasonable level. Even still, it has remained the catalyst for our current Wall of Worry, and it looks as if we’ll need a bit of time to heal this wound. That, and a slew of better-than-expected Q4 earnings reports later this week and for the rest of the month might be just what the doctor ordered. But the proof, as they say (or did once upon a time), is in the pudding.

Take-Two Interactive (TTWOtook a -13% hit today on its announcement that it intends to purchase San Francisco-based social video game developer Zynga (ZNGAfor $12.7 billion, or $9.86 per share. The deal would give the creator of NBA 2K and Grand Theft Auto a global presence it currently lacks. That said, the cash and stock deal represents a +64% premium to ZNGA’s closing price as of Friday afternoon. Zyna, for its part, saw its stock gain +40.7% on the news.

Finally, Fed Vice President Richard Clarida has announced he is moving forward the date he steps down from his post, which had been scheduled to end January 31st. Now Clarida will retire from the Fed January 14th, as allegations regarding Clarida having sold stock directly prior to the pandemic taking hold of the market (and buying them back days later) are putting pressure on the Fed official.

Disclosure: None.

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