The Direction of the stock Market Today
Investors have been keeping a close eye on corporate earnings as they try to determine the direction of the stock market. Today, April 19th, 2023, stocks slid lower as the market opened, with investors digesting a fresh round of earnings reports, including from Morgan Stanley. The S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite both slipped, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average also edged down. Meanwhile, bond yields were up after Britain’s inflation rate slowed, and we are expecting more earnings releases this week, including from Zions, Tesla, and IBM. In this article, we’ll explore these recent events and the broader implications they might have on the stock market.
Bonds and Stock Market Indexes
At around 12:04 PM ET on Wednesday, April 19th, 2023, the S&P 500 (^GSPC) slid by 0.12%, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average (^DJI) edged down by 0.23%. The technology-heavy Nasdaq Composite (^IXIC) slipped by 0.14%.
Bonds yields were higher, with the yield on the 10-year note climbing to 3.637%, while rate-sensitive 2-year note yields rose to 4.269% on Wednesday. The rise in bond yields was due to Britain’s inflation rate slowing last month but still remaining above 10%.
Read More: Bond Market Anticipates Fed Pause, Global Stocks Rebound
Morgan Stanley Struggles With Investment Banking Revenue in First Quarter
On Tuesday, stocks closed flat amid an earnings parade that included Bank of America and Goldman Sachs. Today, Morgan Stanley reported that its first-quarter profit fell due to continued pressure on its investment banking unit, causing shares to drop by almost 2% in the morning trading. The chaos on Wall Street at the beginning of the year resulted in investors worrying over the rising interest rates from the Federal Reserve, the ongoing war in Ukraine, and the failures of two significant regional banks in March. Morgan Stanley CEO James Gorman believes that there may be one or two more interest rate increases from the Federal Reserve and the possibility of a “modest recession.” However, he predicts that 2023 will end on a “constructive” note for his firm. He states that the economy has its stresses, such as weaknesses in commercial real estate, but it “actually feels surprisingly benign from what economic stress could have been.”
During the first quarter, Morgan Stanley’s wealth management division reported a rise in net interest income, attracting new assets, which helped the firm. However, it was also affected by an outflow of deposits as customers seek higher yields. The deposits were down 3.7% from a year ago and 2.5% from the fourth quarter. Morgan Stanley’s net interest income increase resulted from “higher interest rates and bank lending growth.”
Netflix and Western Alliance Results
Meanwhile, Netflix saw its stock sink more than 10% after posting mixed results as it pulled back on its crackdown for password sharing, but it pared losses and was down 3% on Wednesday morning. In contrast, Western Alliance reported that its deposits climbed by $2 billion at the end of the first quarter, causing the stock to rally 16%.
With earnings season heating up this week, companies are beating estimates, and by a margin of 7.6%, according to a note to clients by the team at Fundstrat Global Advisors. They noted that the earnings recession that some bears were expecting has not materialized, and that “1Q23 earnings season will ultimately enable the S&P 500 to push to new highs for the year.” This sentiment is supported by little volatility in the markets, which has enabled a continued easing in financial conditions. This, in turn, has “helped cement investors’ conviction that the Fed [is] set to deliver another hike in just two weeks’ from now, which was supported by the latest round of FOMC speakers,” as noted by Jim Reid and colleagues at Deutsche Bank.
Current Fed Leaders Thoughts on Economy
St. Louis Federal Reserve President James Bullard also provided reassurance that the economy is not headed towards a recession. In an interview on Tuesday, he said that “Wall Street’s very engaged in the idea there’s going to be a recession in six months or something, but that isn’t really the way you would read an expansion like this.” Bullard also did not rule out more interest rate hikes. Atlanta Federal Reserve President Raphael Bostic also favors another rate hike and holding rates above 5% for “quite some time.” Meanwhile, the Fed will be releasing its Beige Book, which will provide detailed information from the 12 Fed districts about economic conditions.
What It All Means
In conclusion, the stock market is feeling the effects of a new round of earnings reports, with some companies performing better than others. The current economic stress affecting the banking industry is unlikely to improve soon. However, investors can find opportunities for growth, even in a difficult environment. Morgan Stanley’s CEO James Gorman believes that despite the challenges, his firm is well-positioned for the future. He cites “decent revenue, decent earnings” as proof that the firm is heading in the right direction.
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