Stock Market Today

Stock Market Today: Tech Tumbles on Another Weak Day for Stocks

Another hot inflation reading sparks concerns that Fed policy will get tighter, sooner, weighing on technology shares.

The market sagged again Tuesday ahead of tomorrow's conclusion of the latest Federal Open Market Committee meeting, with technology stocks showing the greatest weakness.

The Labor Department delivered another sign of surging inflation today, announcing that wholesale prices jumped 9.6% year-over-year in November. That number was ahead of economist expectations for 9.2% and marked the fastest rate since the department started keeping tabs in November 2010.

Several experts believe that all but guarantees the Fed will announce a faster tapering of asset purchases, which in turn is raising fears that interest-rate hikes could follow soon.

"Our base case is that the Fed doubles its pace of QE tapering which would, in theory, put the March meeting in play for policy rate liftoff," says Lauren Goodwin, economist and portfolio strategist at New York Life Investments. "We also expect the Fed's median 'dots' to show rate hikes earlier in 2022, with likely two hikes next year."

"Yet, bond yields don't seem to be worried about inflation sticking around as the 10-year [Treasury] sits 20 basis points below pre-Thanksgiving levels," notes Lindsey Bell, chief money and markets strategist at Ally Invest. "While the Fed is more heavily leaning on inflation readings for cues on pace and timing of its monetary unwind, I believe the greater predictor of both inflation and Fed policy will be the job market."

Still, the news weighed on the rate-sensitive tech sector (-1.6%), as did a note from JPMorgan analyst Sterling Auty, who lowered his ratings on Adobe (ADBE, -6.6%), Zscaler (ZS, -7.8%) and Datadog (DDOG, -6.5%), among other software stocks. Microsoft (MSFT, -3.3%) and Intuit (INTU, -4.4%) also weighed on the sector.

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All that put the greatest burden on the Nasdaq Composite, which was off 1.1% to 15,237. The S&P 500 dropped a more modest 0.8% to 4,634, and the Dow Jones Industrial Average escaped with a mere 0.3% decline to 35,544.

Other news in the stock market today:

  • The small-cap Russell 2000 sank again, off 1.0% to 2,159.
  • U.S. crude oil futures fell 0.8% to finish at $70.73 per barrel.
  • Gold futures shed 0.9% to settle at $1,772.30 an ounce.
  • Bitcoin prices rebounded, however, gaining 2.4% to $47,805.73. (Bitcoin trades 24 hours a day; prices reported here are as of 4 p.m.)
  • Beyond Meat (BYND) jumped 9.3% after Piper Sandler analyst Michael Lavery upgraded the stock to Neutral from Underweight, the equivalents of Hold and Sell, respectively. The move amid Lavery's expectations that the plant-based protein-maker could launch its McPlant burger – currently being tested in eight McDonald's (MCD) locations across the U.S. – nationwide beginning in March, which is earlier than previously expected. Neither Beyond Meat nor McDonald's has commented. 
  • MGM Resorts International (MGM) gained 2.2% after the casino operator said it is selling the operations of its Mirage casino on the Las Vegas Strip to Hard Rock International for roughly $1.1 billion. The sale is forecast to close in the second half of next year, pending regulatory approval.

Diverisfied Portfolios for Dirt-Cheap Prices

Coming up is a holiday tradition that people from all walks of life across this great nation participate in every year: getting their investment lives in order.

The end of the year is a popular time for people to re-evaluate their portfolios, especially 401(k)'ers who tend to check in once a year – hence our 401(k) fund series, which looks at major fund families such as Fidelity and Vanguard that boast oodles of products that are popular retirement-plan funds.

But other fund families deserve watching, too, especially if you're investing in a brokerage, IRA or another vehicle where you can access mutual funds and exchange-traded funds (ETFs) alike.

Today, we take a look at some top funds from Charles Schwab – a provider that has built itself a name in recent years for its ultra-competitive low costs. Read on as we highlight 10 names that seem built to handle what 2022 has to offer.

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