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Stocks rise, steadying after September slump


Stocks rose Friday morning, with equities looking to regain footing after closing out a volatile month in the red.

The S&P 500 ended a seven-month winning streak in September, posting an about 4.8% monthly decline. The Dow ended September lower by 4.4%. The Nasdaq underperformed, shedding 5.4% amid a broad rotation away from growth and technology stocks as expectations for elevated inflation and higher rates took holding. 

“As I look at my ‘what am I going to be afraid of list’ today, there are a lot of things on that list,” Scott Wrenn, Wells Fargo Investment Institute senior global equity strategist, told Yahoo Finance on Thursday. “We don’t really think earnings are going to be that much of a mystery or concern to the market. We know we’re going to get out of this year with a reasonable amount of earnings growth. I think there is, though, the overriding theme of, are we going to have embedded inflation? What might the Fed do about it? Is the Fed going to remain easy? “Those types of things … I think those are the overriding concerns.”

“We’ve had such a big run-up in the market that to have a 5% pullback or something off the top after the market basically doubled in 15 months, I think you have to put this in the right context,” he added. “And while there’s a lot of things to worry about, many of them have a very low probability of causing a lot of long-term problems for the market.” 

As of Thursday’s close, the S&P 500 was still up about 15% so far for the year-to-date, buoyed by outperformance in the cyclical energy and financials sectors that would stand to benefit from rising commodity prices and interest rates. On Friday, investors eyed the latest print on personal consumption expenditures (PCE), which showed the biggest rise in inflation since 1991 in August. 

Heading into October, some strategists are bracing for more choppiness in equity markets, with more developments on monetary and fiscal policy set to emerge against what many expect will be a backdrop of moderating economic growth and corporate profits. 

“I think the pace of gains is just going to be slower. I think that’s not that surprising, given that in the second quarter, we were thinking that COVID was very close to an end, and then Delta put a dent in that. That’s really throwing us off a little bit,” Shawn Snyder, Citi U.S. Wealth Management head of investment strategy, told Yahoo Finance Live on Thursday. “Also, just a large confluence of events were happening in September. We have now Fed tapering. We have the ongoing D.C. drama and all those things that are just kind of leading to some weakness in equity markets.”

9:30 a.m. ET: Stocks open higher after September selling

Here’s where markets were trading Friday morning:

  • S&P 500 (^GSPC): +20.34 (+0.47%) to 4,327.88

  • Dow (^DJI): +213.19 (+0.63%) to 34,057.11

  • Nasdaq (^IXIC): +51.07 (+0.37%) to 14,504.49

  • Crude (CL=F): -$0.20 (-0.27%) to $74.83 a barrel

  • Gold (GC=F): +$1.30 (+0.07%) to $1,758.30 per ounce

  • 10-year Treasury (^TNX): -3.3 bps to yield 1.494%

9:10 a.m. ET: Bitcoin prices spike 10% in biggest jump since July 

Bitcoin (BTC-USD) prices jumped 10% Friday morning to top $47,800, representing the cryptocurrency’s biggest single-session spike in nearly three months. A catalyst for the move was not immediately apparent. 

The move came following a volatile month for the largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization. In September, bitcoin prices fell nearly 8% as concerns over a crackdown in China weighed on prices of bitcoin and other digital currencies. 

Other major tokens also gained Friday morning, with Ethereum (ETH-USD), the No. 2 cryptocurrency by market cap, up 8% to trade above $3,200. Litecoin (LTC-USD) and XRP (XRP-USD) rose by similar margins. 

8:41 a.m. ET: PCE inflation rose 4.3% in August over last year, rising by the most since since 1991

Personal consumption expenditures (PCE) rose at a faster-than-expected monthly and annual pace in August, underscoring persistent increases in underlying inflation as the economic recovery rolls on.

The broadest measure of PCE increased 0.4% in August compared to July, and by 4.3% compared to last year, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis’ monthly report. The annual increase was the biggest since 1991.

PCE, excluding food and energy prices, rose 0.3% in August compared to July. This matched July’s rate and and came in above the 0.2% pace expected, according to Bloomberg data. Core PCE has risen on a month-over-month basis in every month since December 2020.

Over last year, core PCE increased 3.6%, also topping expectations for a 3.5% annual rate. This also marked the fastest year-over-year rise in core inflation in three decades. Core PCE serves as the Federal Reserve’s preferred gauge of underlying inflation.

8:33 a.m. ET: Personal income rose for a third straight month in August, spending increased more than expected

U.S. personal income and spending each held up solidly in August, with government social benefits and wage growth helping support consumers’ purchasing power. 

Personal income increased by 0.2% in August after rising 1.1% in July, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis’ monthly data. The increase was in-line with consensus estimates, based on Bloomberg data. 

The rise in income came as a result of private-sector wage growth and ongoing government benefits, with Child Tax Credit payments under the American Rescue Plan taking place during the month, the BEA noted. Still, income gains were also offset by a drop in federal enhanced jobless benefits, since pandemic-era unemployment programs were ended across half of U.S. states by the end of the summer. 

Personal spending, meanwhile, rose slightly more than expected, increasing 0.8% in August versus the 0.7% rise anticipated. For July, however, spending was downwardly revised to reflect a 0.1% drop, down from the 0.3% increase previously reported.

7:40 a.m. ET Friday: Stock futures drift slightly higher

Here’s where markets were trading ahead of the opening bell Friday morning: 

  • S&P 500 futures (ES=F): +6.5 points (+0.15%), to 4,304.25

  • Dow futures (YM=F): +44 points (+0.13%), to 34,766.00

  • Nasdaq futures (NQ=F): +35.25 points (+0.24%) to 14,717.75

  • Crude (CL=F): -$0.41 (-0.55%) to $74.62 a barrel

  • Gold (GC=F): -$2.50 (-0.14%) to $1,754.50 per ounce

  • 10-year Treasury (^TNX): -3.4 bps to yield 1.493%

6:15 p.m. ET Thursday: Stock futures rise, steadying after September drop

Here were the main moves in markets as of Thursday evening:

  • S&P 500 futures (ES=F): +5.75 points (+0.13%), to 4,303.50

  • Dow futures (YM=F): +40 points (+0.12%), to 34,762.00

  • Nasdaq futures (NQ=F): +23.25 points (+0.16%) to 14,705.75

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 30: Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) on September 30, 2021 in New York City. In afternoon trading the Dow was down over 250 points as investors continue to worry about inflation, wages and supply chain issues. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

NEW YORK, NEW YORK – SEPTEMBER 30: Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) on September 30, 2021 in New York City. In afternoon trading the Dow was down over 250 points as investors continue to worry about inflation, wages and supply chain issues. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

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



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