Markets Pare Big Losses, End Mixed on Banking Fears

Table showing the performance of major U.S. financial indexes on March 15, 2023

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Key Takeaways

  • Major U.S. equities markets ended mixed on March 13 as concerns about Credit Suisse added to uncertainties surrounding the banking sector.
  • After starting Wednesday's session with steep declines, the Dow and the S&P 500 recovered to end with moderate losses, while the Nasdaq eked out a small gain.
  • Banking fears also weighed on the energy sector, with worries about economic growth sending oil futures down to their lowest level since November 2021.

U.S. equities went on a wild ride, plummeting before paring back some losses to end mixed. Concerns about the financial health of Switzerland's Credit Suisse added to worries about a potential bank contagion following the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank. However, contagion fears and a drop in wholesale prices and falling retail sales raised optimism that the Fed could pull back on interest rate hikes aimed at bringing down inflation. Bond prices jumped and yields tumbled as investors shifted money into so-called safe havens. The Dow, which had plunged as much as 726 points during the session, lost 280 points. The S&P 500 was also down, while the Nasdaq posted a small gain.

American Depositary Receipts (ADRs) of Credit Suisse Group (CS) dipped 14% to an all-time low after its biggest shareholder indicated that it would not increase its stake. That caused a ripple effect throughout the sector. Shares of regional banks, including First Republic Bank (FRC), Regions Financial Corporation (RF), and Zions Bancorporation (ZION), declined. Shares of the country's biggest banks also sank, with those of JPMorgan Chase (JPM), Goldman Sachs (GS), Bank of America (BAC), Citigroup (C), and Wells Fargo (WFC) all dropping.

The other sector hit hard by the bank worries was energy, as fears that a worsening crisis could slow economic growth sent oil futures sinking to their lowest level since November 2021. Shares of Halliburton (HAL), Marathon Oil (MRO), Devon Energy (DVN), SLB (SLB), APA Corporation (APA), and Diamondback Energy (FANG) were among the worst-performing stocks in the S&P 500.

Copper Prices Sink

Steel Dynamics (STLD) shares slid on the steel producer's current quarter guidance. Copper prices lost 3%, and shares of Freeport-McMoran (FCX) and other copper miners fell. 

Shares of Charles Schwab (SCHW) and Comerica (CMA), two of the financial firms that had been recently under pressure, rose. Alphabet (GOOGL) and Netflix (NFLX) shares were higher. Shares of semiconductor firms Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) and Intel (INTC) advanced. Consumer staples stocks, including Procter & Gamble (PG), Walmart (WMT), Kroger (KR), and Kimberly-Clark (KMB), gained.

Gold prices were higher. The U.S. dollar rose versus the euro and pound but was lower against the yen. Major cryptocurrencies traded in negative territory.

Table showing the S&P 500 stocks with the biggest gains and losses on March 15, 2023

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