Traders on the floor of the NYSE, August 29, 2023.
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What you need to know today
Good day, bad week
U.S. markets rose slightly Friday, helping the S&P 500 break a down streak of three days. But major indexes still finished the week lower. Europe’s Stoxx 600 index added 0.22%, snapping its seven-day losing streak, the longest since February 2018. Still, the index has lost 1% last week, according to LSEG data.
G20’s softer statement
The Group of 20 nations reached a joint communique highlighting the human suffering caused by Russia’s war in Ukraine — but left out more overt criticism from last year’s statement, drawing Ukraine’s condemnation. U.S. President Joe Biden and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi also announced a plan to develop a transport network that will connect India, the EU and Middle Eastern countries.
IPO for Instacart
Grocery delivery company Instacart is looking to go public at a valuation of between $8.6 billion and $9.3 billion, according to a report by the Wall Street Journal. That’s a far cry from its valuation of $25 billion, estimated by Instacart, around March last year. Still, Instacart’s planned initial public offering is a big step in reviving the IPO market, which has been moribund this year.
Ground control to Major Musk
The Federal Aviation Administration ordered Elon Musk’s SpaceX to keep its Starship Super Heavy rocket grounded. Only after SpaceX takes 63 corrective actions — including “redesigns of vehicle hardware to prevent leaks and fires” — will the FAA clear the company for another test flight. In April, the rocket exploded mid-flight.
[PRO] Keep an eye on the CPI
The August consumer price index, coming out Wednesday, is the last major inflation report before the Federal Reserve meets later in the month. If it’s hotter than expected — adding to last week’s data on higher oil prices and resilient labor market — the Fed might tighten monetary policy further. That could spell trouble for markets, CNBC Pro’s Sarah Min writes.
The bottom line
A quick recap of last week. On Monday, U.S. markets were closed. When they reopened Tuesday, stocks fell on rising oil prices. They continued dropping Wednesday because data showed input prices increased in August. The next day, a stubbornly tight labor market and reports of China’s ban on Apple devices at government agencies pressurized stocks.
And, finally, on Friday, markets rose. The S&P 500 inched up 0.14%, snapping its three-day losing streak. The Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed 0.22% and the Nasdaq Composite squeezed out a 0.09% gain.
The reason for this hard-earned gain? There was, for the first day during the week, no significant news, whether good or bad. Every bit of information that could move markets during the week indeed moved markets — negatively.
To markets already jolted by a downbeat August and desperate for more signs of the interest rate trajectory, good news was bad news and bad news was bad news. In other words, any news was bad news.
“When you think of the economy, it’s a Catch-22 for investors,” Bryce Doty, a senior vice president and portfolio manager at Sit Investment Associates, said. “If it looks like we’re going to avoid the hard landing, we get some good economic news, and there’s a sigh of relief quickly followed up by an increased expectation of Fed rate increases.”
So, on Friday, no news was good news.
But that couldn’t save major indexes from a losing week. The S&P fell 1.3% and the Nasdaq lost 1.9%, their first negative week in three. The Dow ended the week around 0.8% lower.
This week looks to be different because there’s no lack of heavy-hitting economic data, in the form of August’s CPI report. But this time, any good news — in other words, lower-than-expected CPI — will be straightforwardly good.