Tech Stocks Fall Again As Yields Spike Ahead Of Biden's Big Infrastructure Announcement

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Topline

After brief panic at the hands of a forced multi-billion-dollar margin call, markets on Tuesday are back to focusing on rising Treasury yields that are unraveling the past year’s meteoric gains, with tech stocks once again underperforming while buzzy meme stock GameStop continues its unlikely surge.

Key Facts

Shortly after the market open, the Dow Jones Industrial Average, which closed at a record high Monday, is ticking down 47 points, or 0.1%, while the S&P 500 slips 0.4%, and the tech-heavy Nasdaq falls 0.8%.

Fueling the weakness in tech stocks, yields on the 10-year Treasury are back on the rise, climbing 4 basis points Tuesday morning ahead of President Joe Biden’s Thursday infrastructure announcement, which is sure to shore up the economic recovery—and hike up government spending. 

Big banks Credit Suisse and Nomura, which both warned of “significant” losses as a result of Friday’s block-trading mayhem, are falling another 3% and 2%, bringing their total losses since Friday to a staggering 15% and 16%, respectively.

Oil prices, on the other hand, are continuing to fall on renewed demand concerns, with the price of U.S. benchmark West Texas Intermediate falling 1.4% and pushing oil stocks Occidental Petroleum and Schlumberger NV down about 2% each.

Meanwhile, recently booming GameStop announced another executive hire, appointing Amazon Director Elliott Wilke to the newly created role of chief growth officer as the company bulks up its top ranks with tech veterans; shares are up 4% Tuesday and nearly 900% this year.

On the earnings front, McCormick & Co. shares are heading up gains in the S&P, climbing 4% after the food manufacturer posted better-than-expected first-quarter sales of nearly $1.5 billion, 22% more than one year earlier thanks to consumers cooking more at home during the pandemic.

Key Background

Rising interest rates have created headwinds for technology stocks in recent weeks, and David Bahnsen, the chief investment officer overseeing $2.6 billion at California-based The Bahnsen Group,  doubled-down on that sentiment Thursday, saying that last year’s surge in tech stocks was exacerbated by a near-zero risk-free rate. Investors looking for a return flooded the stock market, but with 10-year Treasury yields climbing more than 70 basis points over the past three months, expensive stocks are selling-off in favor of the risk-free asset class. Morgan Stanley estimates that firms in the S&P could be in for an average 18% valuation haircut, relative to earnings, for every 100 basis-point increase in 10-year Treasury yields.

Surprising Fact

Though the Dow and S&P have both climbed to new peaks over the past week, the Nasdaq, which at one point doubled during the pandemic, has fallen about 8% from its latest high in February.

Crucial Quote 

“The bond price action isn’t killing stocks, but our three main concerns remain unresolved,” Vital Knowledge Media Founder Adam Crisafulli said in a Tuesday note. “Federal Reserve tapering expectations are too complacent, investors aren’t paying enough attention to tax-hike risks, and the upcoming first-quarter earnings season will be an especially noisy one.”

Further Reading

Who Will Be The Biggest Losers From Biden’s Tax Hikes? (Forbes)

Tech Stocks Like Tesla Are ‘Screaming’ For A Correction–Here Are The Ones Most At Risk (Forbes)

Here’s The Biggest Risk For The Stock Market This Year, According To Morgan Stanley Experts (Forbes)