Stock Market Today: Stocks Retreat Late After Cheering Powell Nomination

President Joe Biden nominated Fed Chair Jerome Powell for a second term Monday: a move that was welcome by investors ... at least for a few hours.

Federal Reserve Board Chair Jerome Powell speaks as President Joe Biden listens during an Nov. 22 announcement at the South Court Auditorium of Eisenhower Executive Office Building in Washington, D.C.
Federal Reserve Board Chair Jerome Powell speaks as President Joe Biden listens during an Nov. 22 announcement at the South Court Auditorium of Eisenhower Executive Office Building in Washington, D.C.
(Image credit: Getty Images)

The markets kicked off a holiday-shortened trading week by celebrating the likely continuation of Jerome Powell as the Federal Reserve's chair, but the party streamers ran out by the closing bell.

President Joe Biden did what pundits largely expected Monday, nominating Powell for another four-year term as the head of America's central bank as it navigates a period of rising inflation. That sent a jolt through several areas of the market in the morning, most noticeably financials (+1.4%) and energy (+1.8%).

"Powell's renomination removes a potential negative from the markets and provides the certainty that investors crave. Powell is sound, tested, respected and familiar to markets," says George Ball, chairman of investment firm Sanders Morris Harris.

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Looking ahead, BMO Capital Markets Senior Economist Jennifer Lee notes that "with the possibility of an even more dovish Fed Chair now off the table (Lael Brainard will be vice-chair), the possibility of a sooner Fed rate hike in 2022 has risen."

However, all of the major indices turned tail late in the session, giving up most or all of their early gains. The Dow Jones Industrial Average squeaked by with a marginal gain to 35,619. The S&P 500 – on pace to set a new record high for most of the day – lost 0.3% to 4,682, and the Nasdaq coughed up 1.3% to finish at 15,854.

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The Nasdaq might have been even worse if not for strong performances from some of its mega-caps, including Tesla (TSLA (opens in new tab)), which finished up 1.7%. Indeed, the "FAANGs" and other very large Nasdaq stocks have been papering over difficult years for many of the composite's smaller members.

Liz Ann Sonders, chief investment strategist at Charles Schwab, notes on Twitter that the average maximum year-to-date drawdown for Nasdaq components has reached 40%. And year-to-date, just 63% of the Nasdaq's stocks are sitting on positive year-to-date returns, versus 83% of the S&P 500.

stock chart for 112221

(Image credit: YCharts)

Other news in the stock market today:

  • The small-cap Russell 2000 declined 0.5% to 2,331.
  • U.S. crude futures rose 1.1% to settle at $76.75 per barrel.
  • Gold futures fell 2.4% to finish at $1,806.30 an ounce.
  • Bitcoin dropped alongside equities, declining 3.6% to $55,794.50. (Bitcoin trades 24 hours a day; prices reported here are as of 4 p.m. each trading day.)
  • General Motors (GM (opens in new tab)) popped 3.7% on news it took a 25% stake in Pure Watercraft. The Seattle-based startup makes all-electric outboard motors for boats. As part of the deal, GM will supply the company with parts and will provide advice on engineering, design and manufacturing.
  • Blink Charging (BLNK (opens in new tab)) plunged 11.3% after Cowen analyst Gabe Daoud downgraded the electric vehicle (EV) charging equipment stock to Market Perform from Outperform (the equivalents of Neutral and Buy, respectively). The analyst cited BLNK's valuation as a reason for the downgrade, with shares rallying nearly 62% from early October through last Friday's close to trade at a price-to-earnings (P/E) ratio of 110.9.

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Kyle Woodley was long TSLA as of this writing.

Kyle Woodley

Kyle Woodley is the Editor-in-Chief of Young and The Invested (opens in new tab), a site dedicated to improving the personal finances and financial literacy of parents and children. He also writes the weekly The Weekend Tea (opens in new tab) newsletter, which covers both news and analysis about spending, saving, investing, the economy and more.

Kyle was previously the Senior Investing Editor for, and the Managing Editor for before that. His work has appeared in several outlets, including Yahoo! Finance, MSN Money, Barchart, The Globe & Mail and the Nasdaq. He also has appeared as a guest on Fox Business Network and Money Radio, among other shows and podcasts, and he has been quoted in several outlets, including MarketWatch, Vice and Univision. He is a proud graduate of The Ohio State University, where he earned a BA in journalism. 

You can check out his thoughts on the markets (and more) at @KyleWoodley (opens in new tab).