I’d like to think that the volatility of last week is all over and a thing of the past. But I don’t think it is. This is a transitional market with sentiment moving toward value, cyclical, and post-vaccine stocks and away from technology momentum plays. And it’s also a market trying to figure out how to reprice all assets in light of a potential move to lower stimulus bond-buying and to raise interest rates at some point in the future. These kinds of transitions don’t occur smoothly and I think we can expect more volatility.
A day after the market plunged on worse than expected inflation numbers for April, today, May 12, stocks moved up to recover part of their drop on another decree in the weekly initial claims for unemployment numbers. For the week ending May 8, seasonally adjusted initial claims for unemployment in regular state programs was 473,000. That’s a decrease of 34,000 from the previous week’s revised level. And it’s the lowest level for new claims for unemployment since the week of March 14, 2020. (That’s before the pandemic recession really hit full speed.) For the week of March 14, 2020, initial claims for unemployment wee 256,000.
Disney (DIS) shares tumbled by 3.64% in after-hours trading after the company reported fiscal second quarter numbers that beat Wall Street estimates on earnings but missed projections on revenue and on subscribers to the company’s Disney+ streaming service. Adjusted earnings per share were 79 cents versus a projected 32 cents a share. (For the second quarter of 2020 the company reported earnings of $1.53 a share.) Revenue of $15.62 billion for the quarter was a bit shy of Wall Street projections of $15,85 billion. The big miss came in subscription growth for the company’s paid streaming service. Disney+ topped 100 million subscribers for the first time–just 16 months after the late 2019 launch of the service. (Competitor and streaming leading Netflix had 208 million global subscribers at the end of its most recently reported quarter.) The stock dropped on the news, however, since analysts had been looking for 110.3 million subscribers by the end of the quarter.
Consumer prices, as measured by the Consumer Price Index (CPI) soared in April. For the month prices in the all-item index gained 0.8% for a 12-month increase of 4.2%. The core CPI, which excludes volatile prices in the food and energy sectors, was up 0.9% in April and is now up 3.0% over the last 12 months. But what’s it all mean?
I’m starting up my videos again–this time using YouTube as a platform. The twenty-third YouTube video “Five Stocks for an Inflation Scare” went up today.
Stocks are down across the markets today–with the Standard & Poor’s 500 lower by 0.87% at the close, the Dow down 1.36%, and the NASDAQ Composite off 0.09%–ahead of tomorrow’s report on the Consumer Price Index read on inflation. But the real action today is in the CBOE S&P 500 Volatility Index (VIX) as investors and traders look to buy protection against potential volatility in case inflation, expected to head higher tomorrow for April, really spikes higher.