Dow ends flat; S&P 500, Nasdaq close lower, weighed by growth stocks

WALL Street ended lower at the beginning of a holiday-shortened week on Tuesday as rising US Treasury yields pressured interest rate sensitive megacap shares.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 37.63 points or 0.11% to 33,241.56, the S&P 500 lost 15.57 points or 0.40% to 3,829.25 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 144.64 points or 1.38% to 10,353.23.

Growth stocks dragged the tech-laden Nasdaq down the most. The S&P 500 joined the Nasdaq in negative territory while value stocks helped the Dow hold on to nominal gains.

“Higher (Treasury) yields are pressuring growth stocks, and on the other hand industrials, utilities and energy are outperforming,” said Ryan Detrick, chief market strategist at Carson Group in Omaha, Nebraska. “Money’s flowing out of the growth areas and working its way to the value side of things which is a microcosm of what we’ve seen all year.”

“It’s important to remember that there are other groups that can take up the baton when the high-flyers come back to earth,” Detrick added.

Shares of Tesla Inc tumbled 11.4%, with the electric car maker beings the heaviest drag on the S&P and the Nasdaq after a review by Reuters of an internal schedule revealed the company plans to scale back production at its Shanghai plant.

With Tuesday’s move, Tesla stock has lost 69% of its value this year.

Rising Treasury yields put interest rate sensitive growth stocks under pressure, a recurring theme in 2022. For the year, growth shares have plunged over 30% compared with value’s slide of about 7.5% over the same period.

With just three trading days remaining in 2022, all three indexes are on course to post their biggest annual loss since 2008, the nadir of the global financial crisis.

“It was a bad year for stocks, but a worse year for bonds. That’s extremely rare,” Detrick said. “It’s an unfortunate reminder that the markets can sometimes surprise.”

Beijing eased its strict COVID-19 curbs which have battered the US$17 tril economy, fuelling hopes of a revival in global demand and an improving supply chain.

On the economic front, the Commerce Department’s initial take on the US goods trade balance showed the deficit narrowing by 15.6%, while S&P Case-Shiller showed home price growth in its 20-city composite cooled to 8.6% year-on-year, the lowest reading since November 2020.

Of the 11 major sectors in the S&P 500, six ended the session red with consumer discretionary and communication services suffering the steepest percentage loss.

US-listed shares of Chinese firms including JD.Com Inc, Alibaba Group Holding Ltd and Pinduoduo Inc jumped between 1.4% and 4.9% after Beijing announced it was relaxing travel restrictions.

Southwest Airlines Co tumbled after harsh weather forced the discount commercial carrier to lead its peers in cancellations. The broader S&P 1500 Airlines index also ended the session in the red.

Declining issues outnumbered advancing ones on the NYSE by a 1.18-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 1.93-to-1 ratio favoured decliners.

The S&P 500 posted nine new 52-week highs and three new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 96 new highs and 448 new lows.

Volume on US exchanges was 8.35 billion shares compared with the 11.35 billion average for the full session over the last 20 trading days. – Dec 28, 2022

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