US stocks slide after strong showing in July as investors assess path of Fed policy

  • Stocks fell Monday amid uncertainty around the path of Fed rate hikes through the rest of this year. 
  • Major indexes struggled to maintain midday gains, led lower by the energy sector. 
  • The S&P 500 is coming off of its best month since November 2020. 

US stocks declined on Monday, as investors grew wary that a pivot by the Federal Reserve away from aggressive rate hikes would materialize in the near term. 

Markets are off to a rocky start for August, a stark contrast to July which saw both the S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite offer their best showings since 2020. Investors seemingly reached an optimistic consensus that the Fed would move to lower interest rates in the fall in the hope that inflation has peaked. 

“The markets increasingly reflect the belief that if a serious slowdown starts to build that central banks will pivot and ease or even reverse their monetary tightening plans,” Louis Navellier, chairman and founder of Navellier & Associates wrote in a note Monday. 

And the July rally was something of a false-start, according to Mohamed El-Erian, who pointed out that “the market is not the economy.”

Here’s where US indexes stood after the 4:30 p.m. closing bell on Monday: 

The US hasn’t entered a real recession and the National Bureau of Economic Research won’t declare one, according to investment firm Raymond James

On the other side of the debate, Ark Invest’s Cathie Wood says the US is definitely in the midst of a recession on the heels of big tech taking a hit on ad revenue and retail inventories piling up. She said, however, that her fund’s growth strategy had already reached bottom. 

And it may be too early to call a bottom for the S&P 500, according to Bank of America. BofA wrote in a note Monday that estimates for corporate earnings still have room to fall further and remain elevated. 

Oil prices slipped further on bleak economic data from China as the country continues to grapple with COVID-19 lockdowns. West Texas Intermediate crude fell 4% to $94 a barrel. Brent crude, the international benchmark, slipped 3.9% to $99.88 a barrel.

Gold was little changed, edging 0.3% higher to $1,774 an ounce. The yield on 10-year Treasury note fell 4.5 basis points to 2.5%. 

Bitcoin fell, trading at $22,978. 


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