Dow drops 300 points as options expiration unleashes volatility in stocks

U.S. stocks traded lower on Friday as more than $2 trillion equity-linked options expired, while investors digested more hawkish commentary out of the Federal Reserve.How are stock-index futures trading?
The Dow Jones Industrial Average
fell 265 points, or 0.8%, to 33,729.

The S&P 500
dropped 48 points, or 1.1%, to 4,234.

The Nasdaq Composite decreased 223 points, or 1.7%, to 12,743.

On Thursday, the S&P 500
rose 0.2% to 4,283.74, the Dow industrials
rose less than 0.1% to close at 33,999.04 and the Nasdaq Composite
gained 0.2% to finish at 12,965.34.

What’s driving markets? Friday will be devoid of major U.S. economic data, leaving investors to deal with the monthly expiration of $2 trillion worth of stock and index options and comments from Federal Reserve officials. See: Stock-market rally faces key challenge at S&P 500’s 200-day moving average Treasury yields were climbing on Friday as investors returned to the view that Fed large interest rates hikes were not over, with the 10-year yield
up 5 basis points to 2.913% and the 2-year
up 3 basis points to 3.238%. Interest-rate sensitive tech stocks looked ready to bear the brunt, with the Nasdaq leading the market lower. The tech-heavy index was headed for a 0.6% weekly drop, while the S&P 500 is clinging to positive territory, after both indexes ended last week with a fourth-straight win, their longest weekly streak since November 2021. Meanwhile, investors are also assessing the rising likelihood that the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates by 75 basis points at its September meeting. St. Louis Fed President James Bullard told The Wall Street Journal on Thursday that he would “lean toward” a 75 basis point hike in September. Investors also heard more cautious comments from Kansas City Fed President Esther George, who said how fast hikes will happen remains up for debate. Speaking Friday morning, Richmond Fed President Tom Barkin said that while the Fed “will do what it takes” to drive inflation back toward its 2% target, “returning to normal does not require a calamitous drop in economic activity.” Opinion: The Fed is not getting cold feet about wrestling inflation to the ground, so stop misreading its minutes Now that U.S. retailers have finished reporting second-quarter earnings, investors are shifting their focus toward what Fed Chairman Jerome Powell will say during the Fed’s annual economic symposium in Jackson Hole, Wyo. next week. “I think everybody is just waiting for Jackson Hole, so I think there will be a lot of speculation over what Powell is going to say for the next five days,” said Brad Conger, deputy chief investment officer at Pennsylvania-based Hirtle Callaghan & Co., which oversees about $20 billion in assets, mostly on behalf of university endowments. The economic data picture this week was mixed, as retail sales were flat, while Wall Street received disappointing results from Target
and Kohl’s
But Thursday brought data showing weekly jobless benefit claims falling 2,000 to 250,000, with no signs of mass layoffs.What companies are in focus?
Bed, Bath & Beyond Inc.
shares tumbled 40% after investor Ryan Cohen has confirmed that he sold his entire stake in the retailer, and earned a profit of more than $58 million.

Shares of Deere & Co.
slumped 3.5% after the tractor maker reported fiscal third-quarter profit that missed expectations, owing to higher costs and production inefficiencies, but its revenue beat forecasts. 

Shares of Foot Locker Inc. 
 rose 22% before market open on Friday, boosted by the sneaker retailer’s second-quarter results. 

How are other assets trading?
Crude prices fell in step with stock futures. West Texas Intermediate crude
for September dropped 6 cents, or 0.1%, to $90.05 a barrel, while Brent
fell 42 cents, or 0.4%, to $96.29 a barrel.

The U.S. dollar index
climbed 0.5% to 107.98 as investors sought haven assets.

Gold prices fell, with December futures for the precious metal
dropping $7.70, or 0.4%, to $1,763.30 an ounce.

fell 8% to $21,440 and was headed for what could be the biggest loss in two months.

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