Goldman says Americans are judging state of the economy ‘more harshly than usual’
Although the U.S. economy is faring well, consumer confidence remains lower than pre-pandemic levels, according to Goldman Sachs. The firm also believes frustration with high inflation continues to weigh on sentiment.
“Americans appear to be judging the state of the economy and government economic policy more harshly than usual,” chief economist Jan Hatzius wrote in a Monday note.
Hatzius noted a partisan divide is likely contributing to low confidence levels. Confidence typically drops sharply among supporters of both parties when control of the White House switches to the party they oppose. This trend “appears to be somewhat stronger among Republicans in recent elections,” Hatzius said.
Furthermore, high inflation has typically led to prolonged depressed confidence levels, the economist noted.
According to the firm’s estimates, “the negative impact of the recent inflation surge on confidence peaked earlier this year, has only faded modestly so far, and will fade meaningfully further but not fully by election day if our inflation forecasts are right,” said Hatzius.
— Hakyung Kim
Investors have a ‘$6 trillion dollar love affair with cash,’ BofA says as money market funds reach new highs
Investors are continuing to stash more of their cash into money market funds, suggesting a “complicated” backdrop for stocks against a rallying market, according to Bank of America Global Research.
“Record high cash levels suggest that investors do not believe in the early 2024 all-time highs on the SPX,” technical strategist Stephen Suttmeler wrote in a Monday note. “But high cash levels also suggest dry powder for buying tactical dips in a bullish backdrop.”
Investors are having a “$6 trillion dollar love affair with cash,” Suttmeler said, noting that money market fund levels reached a new high last week. The ICI All Money Market Fund Total Net Assets hit $6 trillion on Jan. 31, he said.
In the mean time, the market has been rallying. But even though the S&P 500 hit another all-time high on Friday, Suttmeler said the broader market is showing “pesky bearish divergences,” with only 34% of NYSE stocks rising on the day. This kind of market breadth is a risk for market dips, he said.
The analyst also noted that the percentage of stocks above their 10-day, 50-day and 200-day moving averages have lower highs, showing diminishing breadth as major indexes have continued to gain so far this year.
— Pia Singh
Oil prices settle higher after U.S. strikes in Middle East
Oil prices settled higher Monday after U.S. retaliatory strikes against Iranian forces and allied militias over weekend.
The U.S. launched airstrikes late Friday against Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and allied militias in Iraq and Syria. The airstrikes, which hit more than 85 targets, came in response to the deaths of three U.S. troops in a drone strike by Iran-allied militants.
— Spencer Kimball
New Taylor Swift album is a reason to be long on Spotify, BofA’s trading desk
A forthcoming album from Taylor Swift can add to the argument for liking Spotify, according to Bank of America’s trading desk.
Swift’s record, titled “The Tortured Poets Department,” can be good news for the streamer’s subscription and active user figures, among other things, traders said. The singer-songwriter announced the venture during the Grammy Awards ceremony on Sunday.
“Her albums are Super Bowls for streaming and she just [surprisingly] announced a surprise Super Bowl and date,” wrote members of the trading desk, who operate separately than the investment bank.
CNBC Pro subscribers can read the full story here.
— Alex Harring
Goldman Sachs thinks the U.S. economy might be growing too quickly
Recent economic indicators may be painting a rosier economic picture for the U.S. than some metrics suggest, according to Goldman Sachs.
“Our most out-of-consensus global view over the past 18 months has been that U.S. growth would remain solid alongside declining inflation. Recently, however, some key indicators have been more than just solid,” analyst Jan Hatzius wrote in a Monday note, referring to recently released GDP and nonfarm payrolls numbers. “This raises the question whether the U.S. economy is now growing too quickly to sustain the disinflationary trend.”
The U.S. economy grew at an annualized rate of 4.1% in the second half of last year, Hatzius noted, while nonfarm payrolls grew by 353,000 in January, surpassing a Dow Jones estimate of 185,000. Both of these numbers are “well above” Goldman’s estimates of long-term sustainable trends in real output and employment, the analyst said.
According to Hatzius, real output is, at most, growing only modestly given that certain GDP alternatives—such as gross domestic income and Goldman’s current activity indicator that measures key economic activity—are increasing at a more muted pace compared to GDP. January’s payroll gain was also boosted by seasonal factors of larger start-of-year job exits, he said.
— Pia Singh
RBC says Catalent price on the low end, sees ‘small chance’ of rival offer
According to RBC analyst Sean Dodge, Novo Holdings is getting contract manufacturer Catalent on the cheap. In a research note, he said contract drug manufacturers typically sell in the 16-20x range, but the deal puts Catalant’s value at about 17-times fiscal year 2025 estimates.
Dodge admits that with activist investor Elliott Investment Management’s involvement, there likely was a “thorough process,” but he sees “a small chance for additional competing bids” given the company’s “global breadth and scale.”
The sale will be a multistep process, with Novo Holdings selling three of Catalant’s fill-finish sites to Novo Nordisk after the deal closes, which is expected in late 2024. The Danish drugmaker has been scrambling to produce enough of its blockbuster diabetes and obesity drugs, Ozempic and Wegovy, to meet the robust demand.
—Christina Cheddar Berk
Powell trying to avoid ‘transitory’ mistake, AmeriVet’s Faranello says
Fed Chair Jerome Powell called inflation “transitory” in 2021. More than two years after that, the central bank chief does not want to make another mistake like that, according to Gregory Faranello of AmeriVet Securities.
“Coming out of transitory, which the Fed Chair took ownership of last night, “there ain’t gonna be a rematch”. Jay Powell’s Fed will be certain this time around before pulling the trigger,” the firm’s head of U.S. rates strategy wrote.
The Fed is not ready to ease. It’s hard to find many not in favor of lower rates. And the market dynamics in 2024 have been the same since the Fed began tightening,” he also said.
— Fred Imbert
Stick to quality stocks, especially in U.S. tech, UBS says
UBS said investors should stick with quality stocks, especially in U.S. tech. The Wall Street firm, which anticipates a soft landing scenario in its base case, says these companies can weather a slowdown in economic growth.
“In equities, we continue to see quality stocks as a core holding for investors. History shows they tend to outperform in periods of slowing economic growth, as we expect in our base case,” read a Monday note from the firm’s chief investment office for global wealth management.
“We keep a most preferred stance on the US IT sector, home to many quality stocks. By also complementing core holdings in quality stocks with tactical exposure to small caps, investors should be well positioned to capture more upside if markets continue to move higher,” the note continued.
— Sarah Min
Small-cap stocks were hit particularly hard in Monday’s session.
The Russell 2000 vs. the S&P 500, 1-day
Monday’s underperformance marks a continuation of the diverging trend seen among smaller names this year. While the Russell has shed more than 4% since 2024 began, the S&P 500 has advanced more than 3%.
— Alex Harring
Boeing shares fall on more 737 Max 9 woes
Shares of Boeing declined around 1.7% Monday after the company said it would rework 50 undelivered 737 Max jets following the discovery of misdrilled holes on some fuselages. The rework could potentially result in delays to near-term deliveries.
The news comes amid a period of intense scrutiny for the company after the fallout from the midflight Alaska Airlines accident on a 737 Max 9.
The stock is down 21% in 2024.
— Hakyung Kim
Markets suffer broad decline Monday but Nasdaq rebounding a little better than NYSE
The stock market is suffering a broad reversal Monday, but the stocks listed on the Nasdaq Stock Market are bouncing back a little more than those on the NYSE in early afternoon trading.
NYSE decliners were recently beating advancers by more than 8 to 1, about in line with trading earlier in the session. Nasdaq decliners swamped advancers by a little less than 7 to 1 recently, compared with 9 to 1 earlier Monday.
Those numbers were mirrored in the number of shares traded on up volume versus down volume. NYSE up volume was recently just 16% against 30% on the Nasdaq, while NYSE down totaled some 83% of all shares traded Monday vs 69% on Nasdaq.
— Scott Schnipper
Stocks making the biggest moves midday
Check out some of the companies making headlines in midday trading.
Catalent, Novo Nordisk — The contract drug manufacturer climbed about 10% on the back of an agreement to get taken over by Novo Holdings. The all-cash deal, which is slated to close in late 2024, offers $63.50 per share. Novo Nordisk added more than 3%.
Read the full list here.
— Brian Evans
Coinbase slides 7%, pulled down with broader market as rate uncertainty spooks investors
Crypto stocks fell on Monday with the broader equity market while the yield on the 10-year U.S. Treasury note surged, as investors weighed the possibility that the pace of Federal Reserve rate cuts could be slower than markets had expected.
Coinbase fell 7%, while mining companies Iris Energy, Riot Platforms and CleanSpark lost about 4% each, and Marathon Digital dropped nearly 7%. Microstrategy, which mainly trades a proxy for the price of bitcoin, was down more than 1% along with the cryptocurrency itself, which hovered under the flat line.
“It is important to note that bitcoin has been resilient over the last week despite higher U.S. interest rates and a stronger U.S. dollar,” said Zach Pandl, managing director of research at Grayscale. “[We] believe this reflects solid inflows into crypto exchange traded products.”
“Fed Chair Powell … sent hawkish policy guidance at last week’s FOMC meeting, which was echoed in his 60 Minutes interview on CBS this weekend,” he added. “So far, bitcoin seems to be taking this guidance in stride – holding around $43,000 – as crypto markets focus on continued ETF inflows.”
— Tanaya Macheel
What’s weighing on the Dow Jones Industrial Average
Market eases expectations for Fed rate cuts
Traders have tempered their expectations for a bit for interest rate cuts following cautionary statements from Federal Reserve officials.
The probability of a previously much-anticipated March cut tumbled to just 14.5% Monday morning, according to the CME Group’s FedWatch gauge. The expectation had been above 80% just two weeks or so ago.
For the full year, the market has switched from expecting six cuts to five and was even assigning about a 44.6% probability that the total could fall to four.
Those moves follow an interview Fed Chair Jerome Powell gave to “60 Minutes.” The interview aired Sunday and featured Powell not only casting doubt on a March cut but also backing the view, as expressed in the central bank’s December “dot plot,” of just three cuts this year.
— Jeff Cox
Paul Tudor Jones says the U.S. economy is on an ‘unsustainable’ path
“We’ve got a 6%, 7% budget deficit. We’re fast-forwarding consumption like crazy,” Jones told CNBC’s “Squawk Box” Monday. “It should be going gangbusters because we got an economy on steroids. It’s unsustainable.”
The founder and chief investment officer of Tudor Investment said the danger of this reckless fiscal spending could be veiled by the boom of artificial intelligence, which is improving productivity significantly.
— Yun Li
ISM nonmanufacturing reading hits 53.4, higher than expected
The U.S. services sector expanded at a faster than expected pace in January, growing for the 13th straight month and providing some strong economic momentum to start the year.
The ISM Services PMI registered a 53.4 reading for the month, representing the share of companies reporting growth against contraction. A reading above 50 indicates expansion. Economists surveyed by Dow Jones had been looking for 52.
January’s reading was nearly 3 points better than December, pushed by a sharp gain in employment, which came out of contraction territory and rose to 50.5, a gain of 6.7 points. New orders accelerated to 55 while the prices index surged to 64, a gain of 7.3 points.
Snap announces layoffs
“In order to best position our business to execute on our highest priorities, and to ensure we have the capacity to invest incrementally to support our growth over time, we have made the difficult decision to restructure our team,” Snap said in a securities filing.
These are Snap’s first major jobs cuts since August 2022. Shares of the company dipped 1.7%.
— Jesse Pound
Stocks open lower to start the week
Stocks making the biggest moves premarket
Check out the companies making headlines before the bell:
- Estee Lauder — The cosmetics stock jumped 15% after Estee Lauder beat expectations with its latest results. In its second quarter, Estee Lauder reported adjusted earnings of 88 cents per share, topping the FactSet consensus estimate of 54 cents per share. Revenue of $4.28 billion exceeded the $4.19 billion anticipated by analysts.
- Catalent — Catalent shares popped more than 12% after the contract drug manufacturer agreed to be taken over by Novo Holdings for $63.50 per share in an all-cash deal. The agreement values Catalent at $16.5 billion on an enterprise value basis. The deal is expected to close in late 2024.
- Caterpillar — Shares of the heavy machinery maker popped more than 4% after the company reported adjusted earnings per share of $5.23 for the fourth quarter. Revenue came in at $17.07 billion, slightly shy of the $17.06 billion consensus estimate. Sales were particularly strong in North America.
— Sarah Min
Elanco shares pop on sale of aqua business to Merck
The deal sharpens Elanco’s focus in pet health and livestock sustainability and will allow it to speed up the repayment of debt. All of the proceeds from the sale will go toward this purpose, the company said, and in doing so will trim its debt by about 20%.
The move comes as Elanco prepares to potentially launch six new products over the next two years. Three of those — Credelio Quattro, Zenrelia and Bovaer — are expected to gain approval in the first half of this year.
Elanco shares over the past year.
—Christina Cheddar Berk
McDonald’s posts mix quarterly results
The company topped earnings estimates, but fell short on revenue expectations as conflict in the Middle East hindered sales in the region.
McDonald’s posted adjusted earnings of $2.95 per share on $6.41 billion in revenue. Analysts polled by LSEG had anticipated adjusted EPS of $2.82 on revenues of $6.45 billion.
Global same-store sales grew 3.4% during the period and fell short of a StreetAccount estimate of 4.7% due to lagging Middle East sales.
— Samantha Subin, Amelia Lucas
Catalent rallies after accepting take-over offer from Novo Holdings
Catalent shares were up more than 12% after the company reached a deal with Novo Holdings to be acquired $63.50 per share in cash. The deal values Catalent at $16.5 billion on an enterprise value basis.
“Over the past several years, Catalent has built a comprehensive end-to-end offering of services and capabilities to drive innovation in the healthcare system and improve patient outcomes. This transaction is a testament to our team’s hard work and dedication to this mission,” Catalent CEO Alessandro Maselli said in a statement.
The deal is expected to close in late 2024.
— Fred Imbert
China’s CSI 300 extends fall to 6th day, Hong Kong markets rise
Shanghai Composite Index
Onshore China shares are set for a sixth-straight daily loss, hurt by a sell-off in small-cap stocks despite more official pledges over the weekend to stabilize the country’s financial markets.
The benchmark CSI300, which includes the largest blue-chips trading in Shanghai and Shenzhen, fell as much as 2.1% before paring losses to trade down 0.8% in mid afternoon. It’s holding at levels not seen since late January 2019.
The CSI1000 index of the small cap A-share counters was down more than 5% in mid afternoon trade after earlier dipping by as much as almost 9%.
However, the most liquid offshore China listings in Hong Kong diverged from its onshore peers. The H-share index was down by as much as 1.5% before reversing losses to trade up 0.9%
After onshore markets tumbled as much as 3% before paring losses Friday, the China Securities Regulatory Commission pledged on Sunday to protect the interests of investors, including cracking down on illegal activities such as malicious short selling, insider trading and fraud.
A cut in the cash reserves banks in the mainland have to maintain kicked in Monday, and will likely ease a cash crunch in the last week of trading before a week-long Lunar New Year holiday.
— Clement Tan
Fed doesn’t need to rush rate cuts, JPMorgan Asset Management says
The broader Topix was up 0.7%, while the Nikkei 225 added 0.6%.
— Shreyashi Sanyal
Fed will move ‘carefully’ on rate cuts, Powell tells 60 minutes
In an interview with CBS’ “60 Minutes” on Sunday, Fed Chair Jerome Powell said that the Fed would move “carefully” on lowering interest rates and indicated that the market may be betting on too many cuts.
“We want to see more evidence that inflation is moving sustainably down to 2%,” Powell added. “Our confidence is rising. We just want some more confidence before we take that very important step of beginning to cut interest rates,” Powell told 60 Minutes’ Scott Pelley, according to a transcript from CBS.
“We’ll update [the outlook] at the March meeting. I will say, though, nothing has happened in the meantime that would lead me to think that people would dramatically change their forecasts,” Powell added.
— Jesse Pound, Jeff Cox
Week in review
Here are the market stats from last week:
- The Dow gained 1.43% for the week, its fourth positive week in a row.
- The S&P 500 gained 1.38% for the week, its fourth positive week in a row.
- The Nasdaq Composite gained 1.12% for the week, its fourth positive week in a row.
- All three major averages have risen in 13 of the past 14 weeks.
— Jesse Pound, Christopher Hayes
Stock futures open flat
Stock futures were quiet when trading began at 6 p.m. in New York, with the three major futures contracts all trading within 0.1% of their previous close.
— Jesse Pound