Inflation Hits 40-Year High, Pushing Stocks Lower

Rate of 7.5% was more than expected; bond yields jump

A packed grocery cart in an empty grocery aisle

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The January 2022 Consumer Price Index (CPI) reported year-over-year inflation rose to 7.5%, its highest rate in 40 years. Price increases topped expectations: Economists had forecasted a 7.3% year-over-year spike. The news pushed stocks down while bond yields rose to multiyear highs.

The news comes after the Fed announced in its last FOMC meeting that a rate hike is coming soon.

Key Takeaways

  • Inflation surged to 40 year high of 7.5%, more than economists had forecast.
  • Stocks dropped while the yield on the 10-year Treasury bond hit 2% for the first time since July, 2019.
  • Walt Disney, Kellogg dand Uber are all rising after reporting solid earnings yesterday.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics' latest Consumer Price Index (CPI)  showed a 0.6% rise in January. The core CPI, which excludes volatile food and energy prices, rose 6% year-over-year, also the largest annual rise in 40 years.

The Dow Jones, Nasdaq and S&P 500 all fell, after the Nasdaq surged 2% yesterday and the S&P 500 gained 1.5%. The S&P 500 has risen for seven of the past nine trading days.

The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note leaped, reaching 2% for the first time since July, 2019.

Markets weren't all bleak: Walt Disney Co. (DIS) rose 6% and Uber Technologies Inc. (UBER) was adding 3%, both after posting strong earnings late yesterday. Shares in Coca-Cola Co. (KO) and Kellogg Co. (K) shares are leaping after both beat estimates. Twitter Inc. reported earnings missed estimates but shares rose after it reported avoiding privacy issues hurting other social media companies.  

This morning, the Department of Labor reported initial jobless claims fell to 223,000 for the week ended Feb. 5, a decline of 16,000 from the past week's revised figure.

Oil prices were little changed around $89 a barrel as investors await the outcome of U.S. and Iranian nuclear talks that could add crude oil supplies to the market. The euro weakened against the dollar and cryptocurrency prices dipped.


Quick Hits: Today's Headlines

  • Credit Suisse Group (CS) reported a worse-than-expected fourth quarter loss, hit by legal costs related to the collapse of key clients, Greensill Capital and Archegos Capital Management. The Swiss bank said this will be a year of “transition."
  • Shares of Mattel Inc. (MAT) are climbing after the company beat analyst estimates for earnings and revenue. The toymaker also raised its earnings guidance for the current quarter.
  • Wells Fargo & Co. (WFC) has told employees to return to the office by Mar. 14. The bank had previously postponed its return-to-office plans three times.
  • The White House announced $5 billion in funding for states to install electric vehicle chargers. The nationwide charging network will give priority to interstate highways and fast chargers.
  • McDonald’s Corp. (MCD) has filed trademark applications for a metaverse-based virtual restaurant. The filings follow similar moves by Walmart (WMT), Panera Bread and Nike (NKE). 

The Big Story: Microsoft's New Principles

Microsoft (MSFTannounced a new set of principles for its app store that includes opening access to developers who meet privacy and security standards. The move is seen as part of the company’s push to win government approval of its $68.7 billion acquisition of Activision Blizzard. 

As part of the principles, Microsoft said it wouldn’t require developers to use a proprietary payment system. The move adds pressure on Apple, which has been involved in a legal battle with Epic Games, accusing Apple of anti-competitive behavior.

Microsoft said the app-store principles it released would eventually apply to the store on its Windows operating system, Xbox gaming console, and any future Microsoft app stores. In a blog post, Microsoft said that rules for the app store were modeled on antitrust legislation under consideration by the United States and other countries.

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