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Wall St weighed down by inflation jitters

Stock Markets1 hour ago (May 17, 2021 10:11AM ET)

(C) Reuters. FILE PHOTO: The front facade of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) is seen in New York City, U.S., May 4, 2021. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid/File Photo

By Medha Singh and Sruthi Shankar

(Reuters) – Wall Street’s main indexes slipped on Monday after a sharp recovery late last week, as signs of inflationary pressures building up in the economy kept investors worried about monetary policy tightening.

Shares of Discovery (NASDAQ:DISCA) Inc jumped 7% on plans to merge with U.S. telecoms giant AT&T Inc (NYSE:T)’s media assets, including CNN and HBO. AT&T shares gained 3.8%.

The S&P 500 saw its biggest one-day jump in more than a month on Friday as investors picked up beaten-down stocks following a pullback earlier in the week on concerns around inflation and a sooner-than-expected tightening by the U.S. Federal Reserve.

In a relatively quiet week for economic data, minutes on Wednesday from the Fed’s policy meeting last month could shed more light on the policymakers’ outlook of an economic rebound.

“The conversation around inflation is really the focus of the market and everyone’s trying to get a picture on whether the Fed is right in saying if this is all temporary or is this something they need to take more seriously,” said Greg Swenson, founding partner of Brigg Macadam.

“You’ll continue to see rotation (out of technology stocks) not only because of the outperformance of tech in the last year versus cyclicals, but the only way you can stay long equities and hedge against inflation is own more cyclicals – bank, energy.”

The Russell 1000 value index, which includes energy and bank stocks, continued to outperform on Monday, taking its year-to-date gains to 17.3%, versus its tech-laden growth counterpart’s rise of about 4%.

At 9:44 a.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 68.67 points, or 0.20%, at 34,313.46, the S&P 500 was down 9.19 points, or 0.22%, at 4,164.66, and the Nasdaq Composite was down 48.45 points, or 0.36%, at 13,381.52.

Four of the 11 major S&P sectors declined, with technology leading losses.

Earnings this week will be scrutinized for clues on whether rising prices had any impact on consumer demand and if retailers could sustain their strong earnings momentum.

Walmart (NYSE:WMT) Inc, home improvement chain Home Depot Inc (NYSE:HD) and department store operator Macy’s (NYSE:M) are set to report on Tuesday, with Target Corp (NYSE:TGT) Ralph Lauren (NYSE:RL) and TJX (NYSE:TJX) Cos on tap later in the week.

With the earnings season at its tail-end, overall earnings for S&P 500 companies are expected to have climbed 50.6% from a year ago, according to Refinitiv IBES, the strongest pace of growth in 11 years.

ViacomCBS (NASDAQ:VIAC) shares gained 3.5% after a report that billionaire George Soros’s investment firm bought stocks as they were being sold off during the meltdown of Archegos Capital Management.

Cryptocurrency-related stocks like Marathon Digital, Riot Blockchain (NASDAQ:RIOT) and Coinbase fell between 6% and 9% as bitcoin swung in volatile trading after Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) boss Elon Musk’s tweets about the carmaker’s bitcoin holdings.

Declining issues outnumbered advancers for a 1.27-to-1 ratio on the NYSE and for a 1.27-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.

The S&P index recorded 24 new 52-week highs and no new low, while the Nasdaq recorded 44 new highs and 19 new lows.

Wall St weighed down by inflation jitters

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