Tuesday March 23rd


Stock futures fall on one-year bull market anniversary, Dow futures dip 140 points

U.S. stock index futures fell on Tuesday, one year after the bull market from the pandemic lows began as investors took some profits in shares that will benefit most from the reopening of the economy. Futures contracts tied to the Dow Jones Industrial Average shed 136 points. S&P 500 futures lost 0.4%. Nasdaq 100 futures fell 0.2%. Shares of Carnival and Norwegian cruise lines fell more than 2% each in premarket trading. American Airlines and United Airlines fell about 2% apiece. Brick-and-mortar retailer Gap also fell slightly. ViacomCBS, one of the top performers in the S&P 500 since the pandemic lows, lost 4% in premarket trading after saying it would offer more stock for sale. The shares are up more than 700% since last March. Tuesday marks the one-year anniversary of the market’s bottom as the coronavirus pandemic sent stocks tumbling 30% at the fastest pace on record. Since the low on March 23, both the S&P 500 and Dow have advanced more than 75%. The Nasdaq Composite is up more than 90%, while the Russell 2000 has surged 126%. “Things have come full circle now, as stocks have staged a furious rally, with new highs happening across the globe as the economy recovers at a record pace,” noted Ryan Detrick, chief market strategist at LPL Financial. “This bull market is off to an amazing start, but it is important to remember it is still young. While a pick-up in volatility would be normal as this stage of a strong bull market, we think suitable investors may want to consider buying the dip. Vaccine distribution, fiscal and monetary stimulus, and a robust economic recovery all have our confidence high,” he added. On the pandemic front, a U.S. health agency expressed concern Tuesday that AstraZeneca may have included outdated information in trial results of its Covid-19 vaccine. The U.S. is administering about 2.5 million Covid vaccine shots every day. However, the number of new cases is increasing in 21 states as highly infectious variants spread and governors relax restrictions on businesses.  The Dow finished Monday’s session 103 points higher, for a gain of 0.32%. The S&P 500 broke a two-day losing streak and advanced 0.7%. The Nasdaq Composite was the relative outperformer, jumping 1.23% for its fifth positive session in six. The gains came as the 10-year Treasury yield retreated, after touching a 14-month high last week. The 10-year yield was falling again on Tuesday, but that failed to boost stock futures. “While the rise in yields has created volatility, we don’t expect it to derail the equity rally,” noted Mark Haefele, chief investment officer at UBS Global Wealth Management. “We believe rising yields reflect growth optimism and expectations for higher inflation.” On Tuesday Fed Chairman Jerome Powell and Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen will make their first joint appearance before the U.S. House Committee on Financial Services. The discussion will center on the oversight of the Treasury’s and Federal Reserve’s pandemic response. In prepared remarks published ahead of the hearing, Powell noted that the recovery is gaining steam, before adding there’s still a long way to go. “The recovery has progressed more quickly than generally expected and looks to be strengthening. This is due in significant part to the unprecedented fiscal and monetary policy actions ... which provided essential support to households, businesses, and communities,” he said in the prepared comments. “But the recovery is far from complete, so, at the Fed, we will continue to provide the economy the support that it needs for as long as it takes,” he added. Shares in major Asia-Pacific markets slipped on Tuesday, with Chinese search giant Baidu seeing a muted debut in Hong Kong. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index led losses among the region’s major markets as it fell 1.34% to close at 28,497.38. Mainland Chinese stocks fell on the day as the Shanghai composite shed 0.93% to 3,411.51 while the Shenzhen component declined 1.117% to 13,607.27. In Japan, the Nikkei 225 closed 0.61% lower at 28,995.92 while the Topix index declined 0.94% to finish its trading day at 1,971.48. South Korea’s Kospi slipped 1.01% to close at 3,004.74. Oil prices fell 1% on Tuesday, hit by concerns that new pandemic curbs and slow vaccine rollouts in Europe will slow a recovery in demand, while producers cut prices in a sign of plentiful supply. U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures for May delivery fell 80 cents, or 1.3%, to $60.76 a barrel by 0725 GMT. The April contract expired on Monday at $61.55, up 13 cents from Friday, after plunging more than 6% last week. Brent crude futures for May dropped by 93 cents, or 1.4% to $63.69, erasing a gain of 9 cents in the previous session. Gold prices were little changed on Tuesday as investors awaited comments on U.S. economic health from Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell and Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen later in the day. Spot gold was almost unchanged at $1,738.50 per ounce by 0736 GMT, after declining as much as 0.5% earlier in the day as the U.S. dollar strengthened along with Treasury yields. U.S. gold futures were up 0.1% at $1,738.90 per ounce.