After not moving very much yesterday on the actual news from the Federal Reserve-the Standard & Poor’s 500 finished up 0.29% and the NASDSQ Composite closed higher by 0.40%, today, March 18, markets decided they really didn’t like the Fed’s stance on inflation, interest rates, and bond yields.
A day after Fed chair Jerome Powell said the Fed wasn’t much concerned about either the projects for higher inflation or the rise in Treasury yields, the yield on the 10-year Treasury spiked to 1.71% at the close. (It was at 1.74% as 1 p.m. in New York.) The closing yield amounted to a jump of 7 basis points in the yield on the benchmark Treasury issue. The yield on the 10-year Treasury is now up an astonishing 42 basis points in a month.
And as has been the case in 2021 and as you might expect, stocks sold off with high multiple, high momentum technology shares taking the worst beating.
While the Standard & Poor’s 500 closed lower by 1.48%, the technology heavy NASDAQ Composite lost 3.02%. The NASDAQ 100, dominated by BIG TECH stocks, dropped 3.13%.
Among BIG TECH stocks, Apple (AAPL) was down 3.39%; Facebook (FB) lost 1.90%; Amazon(AMZN) dropped 3.44%. Microsoft (MSFT) fell 2.67%.
The damage was actually more pronounced among somewhat smaller names with even higher momentum. SolarEdge Technologies (SEDG) lost 8.56% and SunRun (RUN) gave up 9.72%. Chip makers Skywork Solutions (SWKS) and Marvell Technology Group (MRVL) were down 4.44% and 5.30%, respectively. Cyber security favorite Palo Alto Networks (PANW) was off 5.75% and in the same sector CrowdStrike Holdings (CRWD) lost 8.57%. In FinTech PayPal (PYPL) dropped 5.75% and Square (SQ) moved lower by 9.00%. Tesla (TSLA) fell 6.90%.
It was hard to find much in the gene. Ad agency Omnicom (OMC) managed a 0.0% pickup. CVS Health (CVS) was ahead 0.64%. Cardboard packaging maker WestRock (WRK) gained 0.38%.
Except for bank stocks, which did quite well, thank you. The Invesco KBWB Bank ETF (KBWB) was up 1.14%. Citigroup (C) ended higher by 0.33%. Bank of America (BAC) gained 2.61%. And U.S. Bancorp (USB) picked up 3.27%.
The day might aptly be summed up in the movement of two sector ETFs. The Technology Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLK) lost 2.77%. The Financial Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLF) gained 0.52%
Full disclosure: I own shares of Omnicom, SolarEdge and Palo Alto Networks; and Call Options on the Invesco KBWB Bank ETF in my personal portfolio. I added to that position in the Invesco Bank ETF today.