(Bloomberg) — Stocks closed well off session lows as comments from Federal Reserve officials brought some relief to investors worried that a more aggressive pace of hikes could trigger a recession.
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The S&P 500 almost erased a slide that topped 2% as Fed Governor Christopher Waller and Fed Bank of St. Louis President James Bullard said they would back a 75-basis-point hike in July after a hot inflation print. The tech-heavy Nasdaq 100 climbed amid gains in giants like Apple Inc. and Intel Corp.
Read: A Mark of Capitulation as Retail Starts to Mean What It Says
Treasury two-year yields fell as traders shifted their bets away from a full-point hike by the Fed this month. Markets may have gotten a little ahead of themselves in betting on a move of that magnitude, Waller said. The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index pared gains, but still traded at an all-time high.
Investors got a reality check from the corporate side Thursday, with JPMorgan Chase & Co. temporarily halting buybacks as earnings fell short of estimates, and Morgan Stanley announcing a plunge in investment-banking revenues. Still, the chiefs of both banks said they aren’t steering their firms toward shelter even as they see global events denting the economy.
“People are confused as to where the economy is actually heading,” said Victoria Fernandez, chief market strategist at Crossmark Global Investments. “Are we going into recession? Are we not? Is it going to be a short recession? Is it going to be a deep recession? That’s why we’re seeing so much volatility in the market. People just don’t have a clear direction right now.”
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Shrinking the Fed’s $8.9 trillion balance sheet will have an effect over time equivalent to no more than three quarter-point interest-rate hikes, according to a new study by a Fed Bank of Atlanta economist. That suggests the asset reductions will have a relative modest effect compared to rate hikes to counter inflation.
“We remain skeptical that the Fed can pull off simultaneously normalizing its balance sheet, controlling inflation, and avoiding severe market disruptions,” said Richard Saperstein, chief investment officer at Treasury Partners. “We’re increasingly concerned that investors may be forced to endure more downside volatility in this tricky environment.”
Elsewhere, Bitcoin broke above $20,000, joining gains in tech stocks while investors got more clarity on the bankruptcy of a major digital-assets lender.
Read: SEC Weighs Waiving Some Rules to Regulate Crypto, Gensler Says
What to watch this week:
China GDP, Friday
US business inventories, industrial production, University of Michigan consumer sentiment, Empire manufacturing, retail sales, Friday
G-20 finance ministers, central bankers meet in Bali, from Friday
Atlanta Fed President Raphael Bostic speaks, Friday
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Some of the main moves in markets:
The S&P 500 fell 0.3% as of 4 p.m. New York time
The Nasdaq 100 rose 0.3%
The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.5%
The MSCI World index fell 0.8%
The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index rose 0.6%
The euro fell 0.4% to $1.0016
The British pound fell 0.6% to $1.1823
The Japanese yen fell 1.1% to 138.94 per dollar
The yield on 10-year Treasuries advanced four basis points to 2.97%
Germany’s 10-year yield advanced three basis points to 1.18%
Britain’s 10-year yield advanced four basis points to 2.10%
West Texas Intermediate crude fell 0.1% to $96.19 a barrel
Gold futures fell 1.6% to $1,707.50 an ounce
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