New York, Tokyo The volatile mood on the US stock markets persists. After the positive trend on Wednesday, the three major indices closed in the red on Thursday. The oil markets were particularly turbulent. This has fueled renewed debate in the US about the threat of stagflation, with prices rising as the economy cools.
And that's still the best scenario for stocks, independent capital market consultant Ed Yardeni points out. “The US Federal Reserve always talks about having all the necessary tools to fight inflation. But the only tool I know of is to raise interest rates so much that it leads to a recession," he told Bloomberg TV.
However, he does not assume that Fed Chair Jerome Powell will do so. "Instead, we will live with higher inflation and higher interest rates without sliding into a recession for the foreseeable future," believes Yardeni. Equity markets would adjust accordingly. That would be a markedly different sentiment than investors have experienced over the past two years. At that time, the central bank, with its ultra-loose monetary policy, promoted sharply rising and sometimes overheated stock markets, especially for technology companies.
Nasdaq with the biggest losses
Meanwhile, Nasdaq tech stocks were the worst performers on Thursday. It lost 1.5 percent and closed at 14,035 points. The Dow Jones ended 0.3 percent down at 33,794 points, the market-wide S&P 500 closed 0.5 percent lower at 4363 points.
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Software providers Okta and Snowflake were among the biggest losers. They fell by eight and 15 percent, respectively. Salesforce and Adobe each lost over two percent. Tesla closed 4.6 percent down.
Citigroup's strategists are still optimistic. "We are still in favor of buying in phases of weakness and point out that stocks worldwide have risen 10 to 20 percent after geopolitical crises," wrote strategist Robert Buckland in a recent analysis.
Take a deep breath on government bonds
The 10-year Treasury yield ended slightly weaker — at 1.85 percent after posting its biggest one-day gain in two years a day earlier.
David Grecsek from the asset manager Aspiriant assumes that there will also be increased fluctuations in bonds and their returns. After all, there are opposing forces that are currently affecting the market. On the one hand, investors would flee to safe havens and thus increase the demand for bonds. But real yields are negative, which may deter some. Yields fall when bond prices rise.
Iran in the focus of oil investors
WTI crude oil hit $116 a barrel, its highest level since 2008, but then fell sharply to close at just over $107. The change of direction followed after positive signals from Iran. Talks on reviving the nuclear agreement have made good progress, it said on the market. A conclusion of the nuclear deal would enable oil exports from Iran and thus counteract impending bottlenecks.
Meanwhile, the rally in base metals continued. Zinc hits highest level since 2007, aluminum prices hit record high. Investors continue to worry about the impact of the Ukraine war on the economy and supply chains.
The government of US President Joe Biden imposed further sanctions on Russian oligarchs on Thursday and signaled that energy sanctions are not yet off the table. This led to additional uncertainty. Above all, further rising oil prices would "cause headwinds, no question about it," said Mark Stoeckle, head of asset manager Adams Funds.
Downtrend for Bitcoin and Co.
Cryptocurrencies were again weaker on Thursday. Market leader Bitcoin was almost four percent down and cost $ 42,471. The second-largest digital currency, Ether, lost 4.5 percent to trade at $2,833. The Securities and Exchange Commission in the USA and the Treasury Department had recently indicated new regulatory measures.
The US wants to ensure that Russia does not use digital money to circumvent sanctions. Crypto exchanges such as Coinbase, Kraken and Binance are particularly in focus. In the meantime, however, according to the current status, Russian citizens who are not affected by sanctions are allowed to carry out crypto transactions. Meanwhile, Ukraine, which is taking advantage of virtual coins more than any other nation, has refrained from launching its own digital currency. At the beginning of the week, Digital Minister Mykhailo Fedorov hinted at such a plan via Twitter.
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