US stocks are mixed on Monday in New York as Wall Street keeps wrestling with whether the economy will successfully avoid a recession amid rising interest rates and high inflation.
The S&P 500 is 0.3 per cent higher in late trade, the Dow Jones is 0.1 per cent lower and the Nasdaq has added 0.2 per cent. The Australian sharemarket is set to slip, with futures at 5.13am AEST pointing to a fall of 15 points, or 0.2 per cent, at the open. The Reserve Bank meets on Tuesday afternoon, and are expected to raise interest rates again.
Stocks started the day with bigger gains, and the S&P 500 was up as much as 1.5 per cent, with the Nasdaq briefly up nearly 2 per cent. But they fell back as Treasury yields continued to climb, putting downward pressure on stocks. When safe bonds are paying more in interest, investors are usually less willing to pay high prices for stocks, which are riskier.
The yield on the 10-year Treasury jumped back above 3 per cent to 3.03 per cent, up from 2.95 per cent late Friday. It’s moving toward its levels from early and mid-May, when it reached its highest point since 2018 amid expectations for the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates aggressively in order to rein in the worst inflation in decades.
Such moves will slow the economy by design, and investors are trying to guess beforehand whether the Fed will move so aggressively or so quickly that it will cause a recession.
Economists at Goldman Sachs said in a research report they still see the Fed and it chair, Jerome Powell, on course to walk the line successfully and engineer what’s called a “soft landing” for the economy. That was more encouraging than some of the warnings that dragged on markets last week, including one from JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon, who said he’s preparing for an economic “hurricane.”
The number of job openings has started to decline, which could reduce some of the pressure pushing wages and inflation higher. Snarled supply chains around the world have also improved, though the Goldman Sachs economists led by Jan Hatzius still see a 35 per cent risk of a US recession within the next two years.
“To say that markets are likely to remain rangebound is often a cliché, but we think it currently has more content than normal because Chair Powell is so intently focused on the role of financial conditions in delivering a soft landing,” Hatzius wrote.
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