Stock Market Today: Stocks Slip Further as Sanctions Mount
The U.S. and U.K. announced additional sanctions as the Russia-Ukraine crisis continued to ramp up, sending the major indexes further into the red Wednesday.
The S&P 500 dipped deeper into correction territory Wednesday amid additional fallout of Russia's attacks on Ukraine.
A U.S. official told NBC News that Russia has "nearly 100 percent of all the forces we anticipated [Russian President Vladimir Putin] would need" to launch a full-scale invasion of Ukraine, which has declared a state of emergency and called up its military reserves.
Meanwhile, a day after announcing sanctions targeting two of Russia's largest banks, President Joe Biden announced new measures against Nord Stream 2 AG, a company responsible for the Nord Stream 2 natural gas pipeline stretching from Russia to Germany. And U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson promised military support (including weapons) for Ukraine.
"If Russia goes deeper into Ukraine, the conflict could be longer and the West's reaction could be more severe. As a result, sanctions could be more biting," says Lauren Goodwin, economist and portfolio strategist at New York Life Investments. "Higher commodity prices and slower growth could have a meaningful impact on the global economy, including emerging-market economies and by making the Fed's job even more difficult."
Stocks teased investors by opening in the green, but the trap door quickly opened. The S&P 500 (-1.8% to 4,225) suffered its fourth consecutive decline, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average (-1.4% to 33,131) and Nasdaq Composite (-2.6% to 13,037) each posted their fifth straight losses.
Other news in the stock market today:
- The small-cap Russell 2000 sank 1.8% to 1,944.
- U.S. crude oil futures gained 0.2% to end at $92.10 per barrel.
- Gold futures rose 0.2% to settle at $1,910.40 an ounce.
- Bitcoin slid modestly, off 0.6% to $37,702.21. (Bitcoin trades 24 hours a day; prices reported here are as of 4 p.m.)
- TJX (TJX) stock slipped 4.2% after the off-price retailer reported earnings. In its fourth quarter, TJX reported earnings of 78 cents per share on revenue of $13.9 billion, falling short of the 91 cents per share and $14.2 billion analysts were expecting. The TJ Maxx parent also reported a 10% jump in same-store sales for the three-month period and hiked its dividend by 13%. "Although this was a disappointing quarter in our view, nothing has changed in our 12-month thesis, as we see TJX outperforming as the consumer weakens and becomes more aware of higher costs across all aspects of retail," says CFRA Research analyst Zachary Warring (Strong Buy). "We see more and more consumers returning to off-price retailers over the next 12-months as stimulus fades, and we expect TJX to be the biggest beneficiary."
- In its fourth quarter, Lowe's (LOW, +0.2%) reported earnings of $1.78 per share – up 34.8% year-over-year and coming in well above analysts' consensus estimate for earnings of 71 cents per share. Revenue was up 4.8% from the year prior to $21.3 billion, also exceeding forecasts for $20.9 billion in sales. "LOW is improving its processes to enhance store product offerings, operational improvement, and widen margins," writes CFRA Research analyst Kenneth Leon (Buy). "We think the PRO segment will outperform the Do-It-Yourself (DIY) segment in fiscal 2023, given affluent households boosting remodeling contracts with PRO customers, and DIYs face inflation pressures and reduce disposable income."
The Coming Days, Weeks Are Pivotal
Bluntly speaking, the market is now at a "put up or shut up" moment.
More specifically, says Sam Stovall, chief investment strategist at independent research firm CFRA, now is a point at which a garden-variety correction either begins to sort itself out … or signal a bear market is nigh.
"For corrections, the S&P 500 posted average price gains of 1.1%, 1.8%, 2.9% and 4.7% one, seven, 30 and 60 days later, respectively," he says. "Conversely, price changes and frequencies of advance continued to slide under declines that eventually became bear markets. Specifically, while the market was typically flat in the day after falling into a correction, the S&P 500 continued to record price declines averaging 0.4%, 2.9% and 4.8% seven, 30 and 60 days later."
More simply put, if the market shows signs of recovery in the coming days and weeks, the correction might be over. If not, "the worst is yet to come."
While we're stuck in something of a Schrodinger's stock market, most investors are better off focusing on long-term quality rather than speculative upside. You can start with the best-rated blue chips of the S&P 500 or the Dow's most promising dividend-yielding stocks.
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