Stocks Climb as Microsoft, Tesla Gain Ahead of Rate Announcement

After two days of wild gyrations, U.S. equity markets remain solidly in the green as investors await the outcome of the latest Federal Reserve meeting. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) and Nasdaq are up about 300 points, and the S&P 500 is gaining as well.

Key Takeaways

  • U.S. equity markets are solidly in the green as technology shares seek to gain back ground given up this month month.
  • Investors await the outcome of the latest Federal Reserve meeting and expect a March interest rate increase to be announced.
  • Microsoft, Texas Instruments, and Corning are increasing after solid earnings reports, while Tesla stock is rising ahead of the release of its earnings.

The Fed is expected to give more guidance on its plans to raise interest rates and take other steps to try to tame soaring inflation. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note is up slightly to 1.79%, and shares of Goldman Sachs (GS) and other financial companies are gaining. 

The major averages are getting a boost from solid earnings reports from Microsoft Corporation (MSFT), Texas Instruments Incorporated (TXN), and Corning Incorporated (GLW). Tesla, Inc. (TSLA) shares are rising 3% prior to its earnings announcement after the close of trading. 

Shares of DraftKings Inc. (DKNG) are skyrocketing after Morgan Stanley upgraded the stock and said that online sports betting could have a strong year. Shares of other gambling companies are higher as well. 

Shares of F5, Inc. (FFIV) are plunging after the cloud software company said that it will not be able to meet demand because of supply-chain constraints. 

Oil futures are above $87 per barrel, the highest since the summer of 2014, on tensions along the Ukraine border. Analysts say a conflict in the region may disrupt oil supplies.

Major cryptocurrencies are gaining ground, with the price of Bitcoin (BTC) now above $38,000.

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Price Pain: Chart of the Day

Trends in Americans' Expectations for Inflation Over the Next Six Months

Gallup

A large majority of Americans surveyed by Gallup believe that inflation will increase over the next six months, with half saying they anticipate prices going up a lot. A Gallup poll taken earlier this month found 79% expected inflation to rise, the highest percentage the organization has ever recorded on that issue. Just 9% thought inflation would go down, with 10% saying it will stay the same. 

In a separate survey, 49% indicated that rising prices have caused a hardship for their family, including 9% adding that it has created "severe" hardship affecting their ability to maintain their standard of living. Inflation also led the list when Gallup asked what was the biggest problem facing the nation today.

Other results from the poll showed 78% felt the Federal Reserve would raise interest rates in the first half of the year. Americans were split on expectations for economic growth, with 40% anticipating a gain, while 39% saw a decline. Almost half (46%) believed the stock market will go up, and another 43% expected unemployment to go down.

Kimberly-Clark: Stock of the Day

Shares of Kimberly-Clark Corporation (KMB) are tumbling after the consumer products maker said that persistent inflation will limit earnings and revenue this year. Kimberly-Clark forecast organic sales for 2022 to increase 3% to 4%, with earnings per share (EPS) in the range of $5.60 to $6. Both were below analysts' forecasts.

The company noted that costs are projected to increase or stay elevated for most inputs, including purchased raw materials, distribution, and energy. It estimated that key cost inputs will rise $750 million to $900 million.

CEO Mike Hsu indicated that, while inflation and supply-chain disruptions are expected to persist throughout 2022, Kimberly-Clark is committed to recovering margins to pre-pandemic levels over time. He added that the company is optimistic about a gradual improvement later in the year. 

Kimberly-Clark has announced that it will raise prices this quarter after doing the same in the second and third quarter of 2021. Hsu explained that the price increases should offset a majority of the cost increases the company is facing.  

The company also reported better-than-expected fourth quarter sales of $4.97 billion and EPS of $1.06. Kimberly-Clark shares are falling more than 3% and are now in negative territory over the past year.

Article Sources

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  1. Gallup. "Americans Expect Inflation to Persist Over Next Six Months." Accessed Jan. 26, 2022.

  2. Kimberly-Clark. "Kimberly-Clark Announces Year-End 2021 Results and 2022 Outlook." Accessed Jan. 26, 2022.

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