Stock market today: Live updates

17 Mins Ago

Utility stocks outperform

See Chart…

Utilities stocks were rising on Wednesday.

26 Mins Ago

Albemarle shares slide after Bank of America downgrade

Bank of America downgraded Albemarle shares to underperform as it lowers its lithium price forecast.

Analyst Matthew DeYoe wrote in a Wednesday note that the downgrade reflects “softer chemical markets and a reversal in spodumene price through the company’s JV structure. The latter we think could be a >$800mn headwind to EBITDA, and we believe is underappreciated by investors. This could ultimately drag further on 2025 results, more than offsetting volume growth tailwinds.”

He added that “given contract price lags, the implications of current market declines may not resonate until 2H23, but we have growing confidence that negative earnings revisions are forthcoming.”

The firm lowered its price target to $195 per share, implying 7.4% downside to Tuesday’s close price. Albemarle shares were already down to $195.15, or 6.9%, on Wednesday afternoon.

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Albemarle stock

57 Mins Ago

Higher deposit rates to attract savers’ dollars could hit banks’ profitability, Goldman says

Banks are raising the rates they pay customers on their deposits, and that could pressure the institutions’ profitability, according to a new paper from Joseph Briggs, economist at Goldman Sachs.

The Federal Reserve’s rate-hiking campaign has lifted yields on U.S. Treasurys. At the same time, banks have lifted rates on certificates of deposit in a bid to compete against T-bills. Rates on savings accounts are lagging, tracking at 0.2% — but they are likely to rise from here, Goldman found.

Banks are grappling with two key factors that will spur them to raise the rates they pay on deposits, according to Goldman: First, the rapid pace of interest rate hikes has resulted in an array of competing products for savers, including CDs and money market funds. That means banks will feel the pressure to hike deposit rates. Second, it’s also much easier for investors to move their funds via mobile banking to a competing institution with higher-yielding offerings.

However, higher deposit rates could come back to bite the banks that offer them, according to Goldman. That’s because those higher rates eat the margin between interest expenses and interest income.

“This, in turn, could weigh on lending and growth, as declines in profitability may temper banks’ forward-looking expectations and raise concerns around balance sheet sustainability, prompting banks to tighten lending standards and instead shore up capital,” Briggs wrote.

Darla Mercado

An Hour Ago

Chip stocks fall as recession fears mount

An Hour Ago

Western Alliance trims losses after deposit update

Shares of Western Alliance trimmed their losses significantly in afternoon trading after the regional bank released a new update on its deposits.

Western Alliance said its total deposits shrank by $6 billion in the first quarter but had started to recover at the end of March. The bank said it has added an additional $1.2 billion of deposits in April.

Shares of Western Alliance were down about 10.5%. The stock had fallen nearly 20% earlier in the session after the bank had revealed that its percentage of insured deposits had risen sharply during the first quarter but did not provide dollar amounts for the new level of total deposits.

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Western Alliance trimmed its losses in afternoon trading.

An Hour Ago

Investors have gotten too greedy, Citi says

Citi said that its volatility risk premia model has moved from fear and into greed territory, suggesting investors may want to take profits on equity longs.

“VRP, which is the difference between implied and realized volatility, has historically been more useful in timing short-term dips than have either jumps in VIX or large price declines,” Citi said. “Since March 14th when we initiated our ‘buy-the-dip’ call, S&P has appreciated around 5%. Oversold conditions no longer persist, given the current VRP levels have fallen back below zero.”

— Fred Imbert, Michael Bloom

2 Hours Ago

One of the most volatile and controversial earnings seasons begins next week

Bank earnings are set to kick off next week and many believes it will be one of the most volatile and controversial reporting seasons in a while.

“Sentiment is extremely cautious around the banks for obvious reasons,” Adam Crisafulli, founder of Vital Knowledge, said in a note. “Investors anticipate steep cuts to industry EPS forecasts with income statements coming under assault from all sides.”

investors will get the first formal look at the fallout from the banking crisis. JPMorgan, Wells Fargo and Citigroup are slated to report numbers Friday April 14 before the bell. PNC Financial also reports that day.

— Yun Li

2 Hours Ago

Citi’s credit card data shows spending down 1% in March vs the prior year

Are consumers running out of steam? Citi said its credit card data showed spending rose 3% in the first quarter of the year. That was flat with the fourth quarter of 2022, but it’s worth noting that spending grew weaker as each month passed by.

January kicked off the year with a 7% year-over-year gain, it said. However, monthly spending fell 1% in March versus the prior year. Analyst Arren Cyganovich said its the first monthly year-over-year decline since February 2021. Shoppers rang up roughly as many purchases as they did a year ago, but the amount of each ticket is declining, he said.

—Christina Cheddar Berk

2 Hours Ago

Market is starting to crack, Wolfe Research says

The S&P 500 got off to a strong start for 2023, but the move higher is now starting to develop some cracks, Wolfe Research technical strategist Rob Ginsberg wrote late Tuesday.

“It is prudent to harvest gains from the better-than-expected start to the year,” he wrote. “Yes, the S&P is now overbought at a lower-high, but it is the persistent weakness in small caps, banks and now industrials that is really starting to gnaw at us,” he added.

The S&P 500 slipped 0.5% on Wednesday, but it’s still up more than 6%.

See Chart…

Crack starting to emerge in stock market?

— Fred Imbert, Michael Bloom

3 Hours Ago

Wolfe Research expecting ‘lackluster’ earnings

Despite the larger-than-average downward revisions coming into earnings season, Wolfe Research is still expecting S&P 500 companies to, at best, put up a very modest beat in their first-quarter reports. The season kicks off next week.

“Recent earnings season trends are consistent with an economy that is significantly slowing and likely entering a recession this year,” analyst Chris Senyek wrote in a note Wednesday.

The firm continues to forecast S&P operating earnings per share of $190 for 2023 estimates and $210 for 2024 estimates. That is about 15% below the bottom-up consensus for both years, Senyek said.

— Michelle Fox

3 Hours Ago

Raymond James upgrades Clean Energy Fuels stock

Raymond James says there’s a “textbook buy-on-the-dip opportunity” for shares of Clean Energy Fuels — but it could be a volatile ride for investors. 

The firm upgraded Clean Energy to outperform from market perform. It set a price target of $6 per share, which implies 42.8% upside from Wednesday’s close price.  

Analyst Pavel Molchanov thinks the renewable energy company could see gains as natural gas fuels, including those derived from biogas, play a role in the decarbonization of fleets. 

Shares of Clean Energy were up 1.7% Wednesday morning.

CNBC Pro subscribers can read more about his upgrade here.

4 Hours Ago

Raymond James says UnitedHealth Group shares could rally more than 25%

UnitedHealth shares are well-positioned to have a strong 2023, according to Raymond James. 

Analyst John Ransom upgraded shares of UnitedHealth to strong buy from outperform. He also raised his price target to $630 from $615, which implies 27.7% upside from Tuesday’s close price. 

The analyst said he is more constructive on the Dow Jones Industrial Average component after its year-to-date underperformance. UnitedHealth shares are down 7% in 2023, lagging the S&P 500′s 6.8% advance. “In short, we believe the ‘set-up’ has improved markedly with the valuation reset amid the improving regulatory backdrop.”

CNBC Pro subscribers can read more about his upgrade here.

— Hakyung Kim

4 Hours Ago

Walmart leans into automation as it looks to grow profits faster than sales

Walmart shares are up about 1% as the retail giant meets with investors and details how it expects to make its target of 4% sales growth over the next three to five years.

Part of the focus is on automation, which it expects will help it be more nimble in meeting shifting consumer demand. Walmart expects two-thirds of its stores will use some form of automation by the end of fiscal 2026.

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Walmart shares have gained about 5% since the year began.

While the company reiterated its forecast for the fiscal first quarter and full year, it is talking about changes it’s making to become more profitable over time.

“Our five-year plan calls for us to grow profitability faster than sales,” said CEO Doug McMillon. “We know where our price gaps need to be, and we’ll manage them as we grow profit faster than sales through productivity and business mix.”

—Christina Cheddar Berk

4 Hours Ago

Western Alliance shares tumble as bank says percent of insured deposits rose

Shares of Western Alliance shed about 15% after the bank said insured deposits rose to 68% of total deposits by the end of March.

The bank failed to provide additional details on its deposit balance, but said it has enough liquidity to cover the remaining uninsured deposits.

As of Dec. 31, Western Alliance’s total deposits hit $53.6 billion, with uninsured deposits equating to $29.5 billion. Uninsured deposits accounted for more than half of total deposits at the end of the fourth quarter.

Investors in recent weeks have kept close watch on these metrics after the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank triggered some deposit flight to larger banking behemoths.

Western Alliance shares have cratered roughly 52% since the start of the year.

See Chart…

Western Alliance shares move on deposit update

5 Hours Ago

WWE, McDonald’s among stocks notching 52-week highs

Six stocks in the S&P 500 hit highs in Wednesday’s session not seen in at least a year:

Citizens Financial Group, meanwhile, reached a low last seen in November 2020. Outside of the S&P 500, other financial stocks Pinnacle Financial Partners and Webster Financial also hit respective lows not reached since November 2020.

But not all financials were struggling. First Citizens BancShares, which is also not in the S&P 500, traded at all-time highs back to its reorganization in 1986.

World Wrestling Entertainment was also among the non-S&P 500 stocks notching new highs, with WWE trading at levels not seen since April 2019. The move upward came as investors continued buying in following news of its merger with the UFC.

— Alex Harring, Chris Hayes

5 Hours Ago

Services index slides on drops in orders, imports and prices

The U.S. services sector slipped closer to contraction in March due to sharp declines in new orders, exports and prices.

The ISM Services index declined to 51.2%, representing the level of businesses reporting expansion. A reading below 50% represents contraction, a level that index last saw in December. Economists had been looking for 53.8%, according to Dow Jones. February’s reading was 55.1%.

New export orders plunged 18 percentage points to 43.7, new orders tumbled 10.4 points to 52.2 and imports fell 9 points to 43.6. The prices sub-index showed inflation cooling some, as it dropped 6.1 percentage points to 59.5.

The ISM Manufacturing index is well in contraction level, with a reading Tuesday of 46.3% for March.

—Jeff Cox

5 Hours Ago

Key levels to watch on the S&P 500, according to Fairlead’s Stockton

The S&P 500 is up 6% for the year, but technical indicators show no signs that the market is out of the woods yet, according to Katie Stockton.

The chart analyst and founder of Fairlead Strategies said the broad market index could fall about 15%. The key level she’s watching to the downside is 3,505, while she sees resistance at 4,155. The S&P 500 ended the Tuesday trading session at 4,100.6.

See Chart…

The S&P 500 in 2023

“The latest relief rally has been associated with improved market breadth, but that improvement is now such that these oscillating measures of market breadth or participation are somewhat overbought, so that creates yet another proving ground for the market,” Stockton told CNBC’s “Squawk Box” Wednesday.

— Tanaya Macheel

5 Hours Ago

Health care stocks boost Dow

The Dow is outperforming on Wednesday, powered by a 3% gain for Johnson & Johnson.

The health care stocks in general were a boon for the Dow. Other notable movers in the 30-stock average include a 1.4% gain for Merck, 2% for Amgen and 1.3% for UnitedHealth.

— Jesse Pound

6 Hours Ago

S&P 500 opens slightly lower

The S&P 500 was marginally lower on Wednesday at the start of trading, falling about 0.2%.

The Dow was flat, while the Nasdaq Composite dipped about 0.4%.

— Jesse Pound

6 Hours Ago

U.S. trade deficit rises, pointing to weaker Q1 growth

The U.S. trade deficit rose more than expected in February as exports posted a sharp decline, the Commerce Department reported Wednesday.

The trade imbalance increased to $70.5 billion for the month, up $1.9 billion from January and more than the Dow Jones estimate.

Exports fell to $251.2 billion, a 2.7% decline, as industrial supplies, autos, consumer goods and capital goods all decreased. Imports fell by $5 billion.

As exports add to GDP and imports subtract, the numbers suggest economic growth could be weaker than expected in the first quarter. The Atlanta Federal Reserve’s GDPNow tracker is pointing to a gain of just 1.7% for the period, down from 3.5% less than two weeks ago.

—Jeff Cox

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