U.S. stocks fell at the open on Friday due to disappointing earnings reports from blue-chip companies and as a robust United States jobs report boosted bond yields and bolstered expectations that the pace of interest rates hikes could pick up.
Yields on the benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury note shot up to a four-year high just minutes after the release of a Labor Department unemployment report for January that underscored strong momentum in the U.S. economy. Crude oil prices headed lower.
At 9.37am ET (1437 GMT), the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 91.9 points, or 0.35 per cent, at 26,057.49, the S&P 500 was down 2.26 points, or 0.08 per cent, at 2,821.55.
Banks, which benefit from higher interest rates, led the S&P 500 financials to a 1-per cent gain, with Goldman Sachs helping to push the Dow into positive territory.
There was nowhere to hide on the stock market, with all 11 S&P 500 sectors lower.
Earlier, payroll-processing firm ADP said the US economy added 234,000 private-sector jobs (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/US-adds-234000-private-sector-jobs-in-january-adp-says-2018-01-31) in January versus expectations by economists for 185,000. Meanwhile wages rose at the fastest pace in more than eight years, suggesting employers are competing more fiercely for workers.
Treasury prices declined Wednesday, pushing up yields again after the Federal Reserve left interest rates on hold and did nothing to discourage expectations it will tighten monetary policy when it meets in March.
Because to these folks, higher wages now mean higher prices later, and that means bond investors expect borrowers to pay them an inflation premium.
Wall Street gave up earlier gains on Thursday as bond yields rose and technology stocks retreated ahead of a host of high-profile earnings. Most of the rise in interest rates in the past six months was a direct response to increase in the price of oil and other raw materials, which are reflected in the inflation component of Treasury yields. This week yields hovered at their highest level since January 2014, fueled by the prospect of stronger economic growth in the US and overseas.
The U.S. stock market roared out of the blocks in 2018, before being reined in this week by rising bond yields. The stock slid $63.34 to $1,118.25. Bonds have yet to respond to recent disappointing data, as the 10-year approaches the 2.66 percent high watermark set in 2014. Shares in Exxon shed $5.09 to $83.98. The technological Nasdaq Composite declined by 0.4%, while earlier during trading climbed 0.4% after Facebook publishes better-than-expected earnings and revenue in last quarter. The stock was down $4.36 to $163.42.
UPS (UPS.N) was down 6.1% after it reported fourth-quarter profit that was hurt by higher holiday season shipping costs.
Many strategists say the dollar’s sensitivity to domestic news now looks weak – ING analysts called it “limited and short-lived” – as investors focus on monetary policy re-pricing opportunities elsewhere. Amazon shares gained $63.78 to $1,453.78. Across the Korean Strait, the Kospi fell 0.96%.
The Japanese yen fell 0.4 percent to 109.87 per dollar, the weakest in more than a week. The euro weakened to $1.2456 from $1.2502. The S&P 500 is on track for its first weekly decline in five weeks. Germany’s DAX Index sank 1.7%, the most since June.
On a brighter note, Akers Biosciences Inc (LON:AKR, NASDAQ:AKER) shot up 24% to US$0.449 as investors wake-up to the comeback story at the medical devices company.