October 19, 2021

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Stocks jump as traders digest jobs report, look ahead to Fed remarks

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Stocks jumped Monday as traders took in last week’s much stronger-than-expected monthly jobs report and looked ahead to a busy week of commentary from Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) members. 

The Dow gained more than 350 points, or 1%, before noon in New York, reaching a record intraday high. The S&P 500 also reached an intraday record, and the Nasdaq jumped as technology stocks extended recent gains. Treasuries were mixed across the curve, and the yield on the 10-year Treasury note ticked down slightly to about 1.72%. Shares of GameStop (GME) sank after the company announced an up to $1 billion share sale. Meanwhile, shares of Tesla (TSLA) jumped after the electric vehicle-maker posted first-quarter deliveries that more than doubled over last year. 

Traders on Monday returned from a long holiday weekend after Friday’s stock market closure in observance of Good Friday. As a results, Monday’s regular trading session marks the first since the March jobs report was released Friday morning, which showed that the economy gained a stunning 916,000 payrolls last month with an unemployment rate that ticked down to 6.0%. 

This week’s calendar will be relatively light in terms of new economic data, and very few corporate earnings results are slated for release. However, a number of Fed policymakers are scheduled to speak, offering their own assessment of how the latest, estimates-topping data informs their perspectives on when to tweak their ultra-accommodative monetary policy going forward. Chicago Fed President Charles Evans, Richmond Fed President Thomas Barkin and St. Louis Fed President Jim Bullard are each slated to deliver public remarks later this week, and Fed Chair Jerome Powell will speak at an an International Monetary Fund panel on the global economy Thursday afternoon. 

The central bank is also poised to release the meeting minutes from its March FOMC meeting on Wednesday. While these will not account for the latest batch of economic data, the notes will offer a glimpse at policymakers’ thinking over whether some members were inclined to look past the first signs of a faster-than-expected economic recovery in dictating the direction of monetary policy.

“At last month’s meeting, the FOMC significantly upgraded their economic forecasts yet kept their median interest rate projections unchanged. As such, a close eye will be kept on any discussions that shed light on the disconnect between the hawkish economic forecasts and the dovish dots,” Wells Fargo economist Sam Bullard wrote in a note Monday morning. “While the consensus of the FOMC continues to suggest that the committee will wait for their forecasts to be realized before taking policy action, it will be interesting to see if there is any intense discussion about the implications of the stronger outlook, particularly around inflation. Most Fed officials expect any pick-up in inflation to be “transitory,” yet we suspect there are a few officials that are pushing back on that narrative.” 

11:28 a.m. ET: Yellen calls for global minimum corporate tax rate to ‘stop the race to the bottom’

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said during public remarks Monday that the U.S. Treasury Department was working with other major nations to agree on a global minimum corporate tax rate, which would disincentivize companies from seeking to locate to places with lower tax rates.

“We’re working with G20 nations to agree to a global minimum corporate tax rate that can stop the race to the bottom,” Yellen said during virtual remarks with the Chicago Council on Global Affairs.

“Together we can use the global minimum tax to make sure the global economy thrives based on a more level playing field and the taxation of multinational corporations and spurs innovation, growth and prosperity,” she said.

11:16 a.m. ET: Factory orders fell more than expected in February

Factory orders in the U.S. declined more than anticipated in February, as inclement weather dampened activity in the manufacturing sector for the month. 

New orders for products produced domestically declined by 0.8% during the month, the Commerce Department said on Monday. Consensus economists were looking for an only 0.5% drop, according to Bloomberg data. This followed a factory orders jump of 2.7% in January.

However, the February print is likely to be an aberration. The Institute for Supply Management reported last week that the manufacturing sector expanded by the most since 1983 in March, suggesting subsequent data from the Commerce Department will underscore rebounding strength in the goods-producing sector in the spring. 

10:00 a.m. ET: U.S. service sector activity expansion reached an all-time high in March: ISM 

The U.S. services sector expanded by the most on record in March, the Institute for Supply Management announced Monday morning, exceeding consensus economists’ expectations as more vaccinations and fewer business restrictions allowed more service-centric activities to resume.

ISM’s services purchasing managers’ index came in at an all-time high of 63.7 in March, up from 55.3 in February. Consensus economists were looking for a print of 59.0, according to Bloomberg data. Readings above the neutral level of 50 indicate expansion in a sector. 

9:30 a.m. ET: Stocks open higher, extending overnight gains 

Here’s where markets were trading shortly after the opening bell: 

  • S&P 500 (^GSPC): +29.12 points (+0.72%) to 4,048.99

  • Dow (^DJI): +241.9 points (+0.73%) to 33,395.11

  • Nasdaq (^IXIC): +109.32 points (+0.81%) to 13,586.48

  • Crude (CL=F): -$1.30 (-2.12%) to $60.15 a barrel

  • Gold (GC=F): -$3.40 (-0.2%) to $1,725.00 per ounce

  • 10-year Treasury (^TNX): -0.5 bps to yield 1.718% 

7:25 a.m. ET: GameStop shares slide after company announces up to $1 billion share sale

Shares of GameStop (GME) – a stock that has become synonymous with the recent frenzy of Reddit-fueled trades – sank in early trading after the company said that it planned to sell up to 3.5 million shares of common stock worth up to $1 billion in an at-the-market offering. GameStop had 69.9 million shares outstanding as of March 17. The capital raised will be used “to further accelerate its transformation as well as for general corporate purposes and further strengthening its balance sheet,” GameStop said in a statement. 

GameStop also announced preliminary sales results for the first nine weeks of the fiscal year, which showed global sales increased by about 11% in the nine weeks ended April 4 over the same period last year. 

7:09 a.m. ET: S&P 500, Dow and Nasdaq futures gain in early trading 

Here’s where markets were trading ahead of the opening bell on Monday: 

  • S&P 500 futures (ES=F): 4,031.00, up 21 points or 0.52%

  • Dow futures (YM=F): 33,265.00, up 228 points or 0.69%

  • Nasdaq futures (NQ=F): 13,364.75, up 48.75 points or 0.37%

  • Crude (CL=F): -$1.05 (-1.71%) to $60.40 a barrel

  • Gold (GC=F): -$3.00 (-0.17%) to $1,725.40 per ounce

  • 10-year Treasury (^TNX): unchanged to yield 1.723%

People walk past the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) and a statue of George Washington at Wall Street on March 23, 2021 in New York City. – Wall Street stocks were under pressure early ahead of congressional testimony from Federal Reserve Chief Jerome Powell as US Treasury bond yields continued to retreat. (Photo by Angela Weiss / AFP) (Photo by ANGELA WEISS/AFP via Getty Images)

Emily McCormick is a reporter for Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter: @emily_mcck

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