The Market Sum: Growing Pains

U.S. markets slump on economic slowdown fears

A dried-up wheat field

Scott Olson / Staff / Getty Images

Key Takeaways

  • Major U.S. equities indexes posted losses on Jan. 18, as declining retail sales and job cuts increased concerns that the economy could be slowing.
  • The Dow, S&P 500, and Nasdaq lost more than 1%.
  • Microsoft shares fell after it announced that it would cut 10,000 jobs because of slowing demand.
Performance of major U.S. equities indexes on Jan. 18, 2023

U.S. equities sank as falling retail sales and job cuts raised alarms the economy might be slowing. The Dow, S&P 500, and Nasdaq lost more than 1%, with the Nasdaq snapping a seven-day winning streak. Bond yields plunged to their lowest level since September as wholesale inflation dropped more than expected last month.

Every stock in the Dow was in the red. Shares of Honeywell (HON), IBM (IBM), Coca-Cola (KO), JPMorgan Chase (JPM), McDonald’s (MCD), and 3M (MMM) tumbled 3%. Shares of eight other Dow companies dropped 2%.

Microsoft (MSFT) shares fell after the software giant said it was eliminating 10,000 jobs because of slipping demand (more below). Amazon (AMZN) began its latest round of layoffs affecting 18,000 workers, and Bank of America (BAC) reportedly is freezing most hiring to control costs. Shares of both declined.

Shares of regional banks, including Zions Bancorporation (ZION) and Fifth Third Bancorp (FITB), slid. United Airlines (UAL) shares lost altitude following its earnings report.

Shipping Optimism

J.B. Hunt (JBHT) was the best-performing stock in the S&P 500 after the freight giant indicated that it anticipates shipping demand to return to a more normal cycle in the second quarter. Shares of rivals C.H. Robinson Worldwide (CHRW), and Old Dominion Freight Line (ODFL) also gained. Moderna (MRNA) shares were up as the biotech company reported success in a Phase 3 trial of its experimental RSV vaccine. Shares of Seagate Technology (STX) jumped on an analyst upgrade.

Oil prices gave up early gains and turned negative. Gold futures also reversed course and lost ground. The U.S. dollar dipped versus the euro and pound, but advanced against the yen. Major cryptocurrencies traded lower, sending the price of Bitcoin below $21,000.

S&P 500 stocks with the biggest gains and losses on Jan. 18, 2023
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