Stock Market Today: Stocks End Lower Ahead of Powell Speech

Investors continued to grapple with Friday's strong jobs report and how it might impact the Fed's decision-making.

stock market chart
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Stocks opened lower Monday and stayed that way through the close. Amid a bare economic calendar and just a smattering of earnings reports released ahead of the open, attention was focused on last Friday's stunning jobs report – and what it could potentially mean for the Federal Reserve's rate-hike plans going forward. 

The January jobs report came in much higher than expected and the unemployment rate fell to its lowest point since 1969. This sparked concern that the Fed will have to continue raising interest rates to stamp out inflation. 

"While there were some promising aspects of the jobs report – cooling wage growth and higher participation – it's impossible to ignore the fact that the labor market remains red hot," says Craig Erlam, senior market analyst at currency data provider OANDA. "Of course, no one will be surprised if we see huge revisions next month – we've seen some substantial ones recently after all – but for now, it's hard to argue that the easier policy move for the Fed is to keep hiking in 25 basis point increments."

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Wall Street could get some hints tomorrow as to what the central bank plans to do next, with Fed Chair Jerome Powell slated to participate in a moderated discussion at the Economic Club of Washington D.C.

In single-stock news, Dell Technologies (DELL, -3.0%) said it's laying off roughly 5% of its global workforce, equating to around 6,600 jobs, as "market conditions continue to erode," said Jeff Clarke, the PC maker's co-chief operating officer, in a note to employees. Meanwhile, Tyson Foods (TSN) fell 4.6% after the meat processor reported fiscal first-quarter earnings of 85 cents per share on $13.3 billion in sales, missing consensus estimates. 

As for the major benchmarks, the Dow Jones Industrial Average slipped 0.1% to 33,891, the S&P 500 gave back 0.6% to 4,111, and the Nasdaq Composite finished 1.0% lower at 11,887.

The Best Gold ETFs to Buy

Gold gained ground today, rising nearly 0.2% to $1,879.50 an ounce. After trending lower for most of 2022, the precious metal has been on quite a run in recent months, up about 15% since early November. 

"The recovery in gold has primarily been fueled by a weakening dollar and fading market expectations for a further prolonged Federal Reserve (Fed) rate hike cycle due to receding inflation pressures in the U.S.," says Adam Turnquist, chief technical strategist at LPL Financial. "Rising demand from foreign central banks, including the People's Bank of China (PBOC), has provided an additional tailwind for gold." 

Although gold's rally has pushed the price of the precious metal into overbought territory – a move that sparked some profit-taking last week – Turnquist believes there could be more upside ahead. Continued gains would benefit gold stocks, and gold ETFs would also reap rewards.

Karee Venema
Senior Investing Editor,

With over a decade of experience writing about the stock market, Karee Venema is the senior investing editor at She joined the publication in April 2021 after 10 years of working as an investing writer and columnist at Schaeffer's Investment Research. In her previous role, Karee focused primarily on options trading, as well as technical, fundamental and sentiment analysis.