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Beyond the Numbers

Recession Concerns, Micron May Lead To Continued Weakness On Wall Street
7/1/2022 8:50 AM

The major U.S. index futures are currently pointing to a lower open on Friday, with stocks likely to extend the pullback seen over the past several sessions.

Concerns about the possibility of tighter monetary policy triggering a global recession are likely to continue to weigh on the markets.

Central banks from around the world have signaled their intent to continue to raising interest rates in an effort to fight inflation while acknowledging they can’t guarantee a “soft landing” for the economy.

A steep drop by shares of Micron Technology (MU) is likely to weigh on the semiconductor sector, with the chipmaker tumbling by 4.5 percent in pre-market trading.

The slump by Micron comes after the company reported better than expected fiscal third quarter earnings but provided disappointing revenue guidance.

Overall trading activity may be somewhat subdued, however, as some traders look to get a head start on the long Fourth of July weekend.

Stocks fluctuated after an early sell-off on Thursday but maintained a negative bias throughout the session. The major averages all finished the day notably lower after ending Wednesday's trading narrowly mixed.

After falling nearly 600 points in early trading, the Dow regained some ground but still closed down 253.88 points or 0.8 percent at 30,775.43. The Nasdaq also tumbled 149.16 points or 1.3 percent to 11,028.74, while the S&P 500 slumped 33.45 points or 0.9 percent to 3,785.38.

The steep drop on the day capped off the worst first half for the S&P 500 since 1970, with the index plummeting by 20.6 percent.

The early sell-off on Wall Street came amid lingering concerns about the global economic outlook and the possibility of a recession.

Central bank chiefs have recently reaffirmed their resolve to bring down inflation despite threats to economic growth.

A report from the Commerce Department provided further evidence of an economic slowdown, showing personal spending increased by less than expected in the month of May.

The Commerce Department personal spending edged up by 0.2 percent in May after climbing by a downwardly revised 0.6 percent in April.

Economists had expected personal spending to increase by 0.5 percent compared to the 0.9 percent advance originally reported for the previous month.

Real personal spending, which excludes price changes, fell by 0.4 percent in May after rising by 0.3 percent in April.

"The larger than expected 0.4% fall in real consumption in May, together with downward revisions to gains in previous months, means we now expect consumption to rise by just 0.8% annualized in the second quarter, down sharply from our previous estimate of close to 3.0%," said Michael Pearce, Senior U.S. Economist at Capital Economics.

He added, "As a result, second quarter GDP growth is now on track to be closer to 1.0% annualized, down from our previous estimate of 2.7%, and we expect growth to remain below trend over the second half of the year too."

While the report also showed a slowdown in the annual rate of core consumer price growth, Pearce said the data does not present the "clear and compelling" evidence the Federal Reserve needs to shift to less aggressive rate hikes.

Selling pressure waned over the course of the session, however, with some traders using the early weakness as an opportunity to pick up stocks at reduced levels.

Gold stocks moved sharply lower over the course of the session, dragging the NYSE Arca Gold Bugs Index down by 4.3 percent to its lowest closing level in over two years. The sell-off by gold stocks came amid a decrease by the price of the precious metal.

Substantial weakness was also visible among steel stocks, as reflected by the 2.4 percent slump by the NYSE Arca Steel Index.

Energy stocks also showed significant moves to the downside amid a steep drop by the price of crude oil. Financial, retail and computer hardware stocks also saw considerable weakness on the day, while utilities stocks bucked the downtrend.

Commodity, Currency Markets

Crude oil futures are surging $3.12 to $108.88 a barrel after plunging $4.02 to $105.76 a barrel on Thursday. Meanwhile, after falling $10.20 to $1,807.30 an ounce in the previous session, gold futures are tumbling $22.40 to $1,784.90 an ounce.

On the currency front, the U.S. dollar is trading at 135.36 yen versus the 135.72 yen it fetched at the close of New York trading on Thursday. Against the euro, the dollar is valued at $1.0418 compared to yesterday’s $1.0484.

Asia

Asian stocks ended broadly lower on Friday amid growth worries, as a slew of surveys showed regional manufacturing activity stalled in June and many companies were hit by supply disruptions caused by China's strict COVID-19 lockdowns.

China's Shanghai Composite Index closed 0.3 percent lower at 3,387.64 despite upbeat factory activity data from a private survey.

The Caixin/Markit manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index for June rose to 51.7 from 48.1 last month. Markets in Hong Kong were closed for a holiday.

Japanese shares ended at a nearly two-week low after the Bank of Japan's quarterly tankan business sentiment survey showed sentiment among the country's large manufacturers worsened in the April-to-June period. Dismal manufacturing and unemployment data also stoked concerns about the economic outlook.

The Nikkei 225 Index tumbled 1.7 percent to 25,935.62, extending losses for a third straight session on worries about a possible recession in the United States. The broader Topix closed 1.4 percent lower at 1,845.04.

Heavyweight Fast Retailing lost 4 percent, while tech shares such as Advantest, Screen Holdings and Tokyo Electron fell 3-4 percent. Travel-related stocks ended broadly lower after a sharp rise in COVID-19 cases in Tokyo.

Mitsubishi Corp and Mitsui & Co both fell over 5 percent as Russia moved to create a firm that will take over all rights and obligations of the Sakhalin Energy Investment Company amid Western sanctions.

The two Japanese trading companies and Shell Plc hold just under a 50 percent stake in Sakhalin Energy Investment Co.

Seoul stocks ended lower for a third day to hit a 20-month low after the release of weak data. South Korea's trade deficit hit a record high in the first half of the year, while manufacturing activity expanded at a slower pace in June, separate reports revealed.

The Kospi slumped 1.2 percent to settle at 2,305.42, with chipmakers and chemical stocks leading losses.

Market heavyweight Samsung Electronics dropped 1.4 percent to reach a fresh 52-week low, while SK Hynix and LG Energy Solution both lost around 4 percent.

Australian markets ended modestly lower as falling commodity prices pulled down mining and energy stocks.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index dipped 0.4 percent to 6,539.90, extending losses for a third session. The broader All Ordinaries Index closed 0.4 percent lower at 6,720.40.

Miners BHP, Rio Tinto and Fortescue Metals Group dropped 2-3 percent, while energy stocks such as Santos and Woodside Energy lost 3-4 percent. Fintech firm Openpay surged almost 21 percent after saying it would exit the U.S. market.

The Reserve Bank of Australia meets on Tuesday and analysts expect the central bank to lift the cash rate by another 50 basis points.

Europe

European stocks turning in a lackluster performance on Friday after data showed Eurozone manufacturing PMI fell less than expected in June.

Meanwhile, Eurozone inflation accelerated further in June to a new record high on surging energy prices, flash data from Eurostat showed.

The harmonized index of consumer prices rose an annual 8.6 percent in June, faster than the 8.1 percent rise in May and economists' forecast of 8.4 percent.

Elsewhere, U.K. manufacturing lost more steam in June, with activity rising at the slowest pace in two years and new orders falling for the first time since January 2021, a survey showed.

ECB policymaker and fiscal hawk Robert Holzmann said in an interview with Austrian newspaper Oberoesterreichische Nachrichten that he would have preferred earlier moves on interest rates than the ECB's current plan to raise them in July for the first time in more than a decade.

While the French CAC 40 Index is just above the unchanged line, the German DAX Index is down by 0.2 percent and the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index is down by 0.3 percent.

Dutch semiconductor equipment maker ASML and Germany's Infineon Technologies have moved to the downside following a significantly weaker than expected business outlook by U.S. memory-chip firm Micron Technology Inc.

Siemens AG shares are slightly lower. The conglomerate said it expects to book non-cash impairment of about 2.8 billion euros on its investment in Siemens Energy AG.

Sodexo has rallied. The French catering and food services group confirmed its full-year outlook after reporting a 23 percent increase in fiscal third quarter revenues.

Lottery operator La Francaise des Jeux has plunged after Citigroup downgraded the stock to Sell.

Shell has risen in London as Russia moved to seize the rights to its gas project in Russia.

Miners Anglo American, Antofagasta and Glencore have fallen after a slew of surveys showed Asian manufacturing activity stalled in June.

Gene and cell therapy company Oxford Biomedica has surged after it signed a new three-year master services & development agreement with AstraZeneca U.K.

Vertu Motors, an automotive retailer, has advanced after it acquired Wiper Blades Limited, an e-commerce business focused on on-line sale of car wiper blades and other products, for a cash consideration of 3.5 million pounds.

TUI has jumped. The travel and tourism company said it has again repaid state aid from the Corona program and also reduced credit lines.

U.S. Economic Reports

The Institute for Supply Management is due to release its report on manufacturing activity in the month of June at 10 am ET. The ISM’s manufacturing PMI is expected to dip to 54.9 in June from 56.1 in May, although a reading above 50 would still indicate growth.

Also at 10 am ET, the Commerce Department is scheduled to release its report on construction spending in the month of May. Construction spending is expected to rise by 0.4 percent in May after edging up by 0.2 percent in April.

Stocks In Focus

Shares of Kohl’s (KSS) are plummeting in pre-market trading after the retailer confirmed it has ended talks to be acquired by Vitamin Shoppe parent Franchise Group (FRG) and lowered its guidance for the current quarter.

Delivery giant FedEx (FDX) may also move to the downside after Berenberg downgraded its rating on the company’s stock to Hold from Buy.

On the other hand, shares of Coupang (CPNG) may see initial strength after Credit Suisse upgraded its rating on the South Korean e-commerce company to Outperform from Neutral.
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