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Inflation Data Pushes Broad Pullback in Equity Markets

Weekly Update – June 10, 2022

  • The S&P 500 index fell 5.1% last week as inflation data showed US consumer prices rose more than expected in May, adding to investors’ concerns ahead of a rate policy meeting being held next week by the Federal Open Market Committee.
  • The market benchmark ended the week at 3,900.86, down from last Friday’s closing level of 4,108.54. This marks the index’s second weekly decline in a row and puts the S&P 500 down 5.6% for the month of June to date. It is now down 18% for the year to date.
  • Weighing on stocks, data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics showed the US consumer price index, a key inflation measure, was up 8.6% in May year over year, an acceleration from April’s 8.3% increase and representing the fastest year-over-year pace since December 1981.
  • On a monthly basis, the US seasonally adjusted consumer price index rose by 1% in May, larger than the 0.7% increase expected and following an April gain of 0.3%. Core CPI, which excludes food and energy prices, rose by 0.6%, faster than the consensus estimate for a 0.5% increase but even with a 0.6% rise in core CPI in April.
  • The data came ahead of an FOMC meeting next week at which the central bank’s policy-setting committee is expected to raise its benchmark rate by half a percentage point. An increase by the same amount is anticipated for July as well. Investors are anxious about whether Friday’s data could impact the anticipated moves.
  • The S&P 500’s weekly drop was broad, with every sector in the red. Financials had the largest percentage drop of the week, down 6.8%, followed by a 6.4% slide in technology, a drop of 6.2% in real estate and a slide of 6.1% in consumer discretionary. Energy had the smallest decline of the week, down 0.9%, as futures in natural gas and crude oil climbed week over week.
  • The decliners in the financial sector included Charles Schwab (SCHW), down 11% on the week, and PNC Financial Services (PNC), down 8.6%.
  • In technology, shares of Intel (INTC) fell 9.7% as a Reuters report citing an internal memo said the chip maker has suspended hiring in the division overseeing PC desktop and laptop chips for at least two weeks. Intel paused all hiring and put all job requisitions on hold in a bid to re-evaluate priorities, the report said, citing the memo.
  • In the energy sector, Valero Energy (VLO) shares rose 3.8% on the week, helping limit the sector’s decline, as Credit Suisse raised its price target on the stock to $145 per share from $120. Credit Suisse maintained an investment rating of outperform on the stock.
  • Next week, while the FOMC meeting will take center stage, investors will also be focusing on data including May retail sales, building permits, housing starts and leading economic indicators.
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