Stock Gyrations Continue After Wild Day; Major Indexes Fall

The wild ride on U.S. stock markets continued, with all major indexes plummeting more than 2% after yesterday's dramatic turnaround from a steep sell-off.

Monetary policy and geopolitical concerns rattled markets again along with earnings. General Electric Company (GE) shares fell more than 6% after revenue missed analysts' estimates.

Key Takeaways

  • Major U.S. stock indexes are falling, one day after the Dow Jones reversed a decline of more than 1,000 points.
  • Monetary policy and geopolitical worries rattled markets again along with earnings. GE fell more than 6% after revenue missed analysts' estimates.
  • The U.S. Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) is slated to start its two-day monetary policy meeting today, and investors are betting on a March rate hike.

The U.S. Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) is slated to start its two-day monetary policy meeting today. Investors expect the Fed to signal that it plans to raise rates in March, tightening monetary policy for the first time since it slashed borrowing costs close to zero soon after the onset of the coronavirus pandemic nearly two years ago.

Overseas, Japan's Nikkei index closed 1.7% lower, and South Korea's KOSPI index retreated more than 2%. European stocks rebounded following U.S. stocks' higher close yesterday.

Yesterday, investors pushed the indices into positive territory by the end of the session, after the S&P 500 fell briefly into correction territory. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) rose 0.29%, the S&P 500 was up 0.28%, and the Nasdaq added 0.63%. 

Meanwhile, the stream of corporate earnings continues from big names such as 3M Company (MMM), American Express Company (AXP), Johnson & Johnson (JNJ), General Electric, Verizon Communications Inc. (VZ), and Microsoft Corporation (MSFT).

Later this morning, S&P CoreLogic releases its Case-Shiller National Home Price Index for November. Economists forecast an 18% year-over-year rise, marginally lower than in October. That would mark the 12th consecutive month with double-digit gains for home prices. The Conference Board is also scheduled to report its Consumer Confidence Index, which likely fell to 111.8 in January from 115.8 in December.

The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note rose to 1.745. Oil prices rose, with light sweet crude above $84 per barrel on worries about supply disruptions as geopolitical tensions rise.

Today's Headlines: Quick Hits

Ford Motor Company (F) has shut off orders for its new $20,000 Maverick pickup truck that it rolled out last fall. In an unusual move, the automaker said that it had maxed out what it can build and is straining from a backlog of orders.

International Business Machines Corporation (IBM) shares jumped after the company reported a 6% rise in revenue growth for the fourth quarter. The company has told investors to look for mid-single-digit revenue growth.

Amazon.com, Inc. (AMZN) plans to open a new type of store aimed at serving customers in suburban-area locations. Amazon will open new Amazon Go stores "closer to home" for shoppers, with the first store opening in Mill Creek, Washington, in coming months.

Facebook parent Meta Platforms, Inc. (FB) said that its research team has built a new artificial intelligence supercomputer that it believes will be the fastest in the world when it is completed this year. Meta said in a release that its new AI Research SuperCluster would help the company build better AI models that can learn from trillions of examples, work across hundreds of languages, and analyze text, images, and video.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) is expected to downgrade its forecast for global economic growth when it releases an updated World Economic Outlook. The IMF downgrade is due to a surge in the COVID-19 pandemic and ongoing supply chain and labor force disruptions.

Bob Dylan has sold his entire recorded music catalog to Sony Group Corporation's (SONY) Sony Music. The deal is worth an estimated $150 million to $200 million, and it includes the rights to multiple future releases.

Microsoft's Moment: The Big Story

Microsoft's stock price fell at one point nearly 6% yesterday to lead the Dow's decliners, putting it on track for a six-month low and near bear market territory, before rebounding to finish slightly higher. Microsoft was trading down about 18% below its Nov. 19 record close of $343.

msft vs s&p
Microsoft Total Return Vs. S&P 500 and Activision Blizzard.

Microsoft will report its latest results after the closing bell today, and is expected to show growth in second quarter profits and revenues, thanks to demand for cloud and Office 365 services and features. Microsoft is expected to report earnings per share of $2.32 from $50.7 billion in sales, according to FactSet.

Commentary on the company's largest ever acquisition of Activision Blizzard for nearly $69 billion will also be in focus when the conference call opens for analyst questions. The acquisition, if approved by regulators, would dramatically increase Microsoft's gaming revenue and make Microsoft the world's third-largest gaming company by revenue, behind Tencent Holdings Limited (TCEHY) and Sony. Microsoft's gaming revenue came in at $3.6 billion in the last quarter. By comparison, Activision Blizzard reported net revenues of $2.1 billion in its comparable quarter.

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  1. Meta AI. "Introducing the AI Research SuperCluster — Meta's Cutting-Edge AI Supercomputer for AI Research." Accessed Jan. 25, 2022.

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