Stocks close down, putting all three major indexes on track for weekly losses

By Jonna Lorenz
Stocks closed down Thursday, putting all three major indexes on track for weekly losses. Photo by John Angelillo/UPI
Stocks closed down Thursday, putting all three major indexes on track for weekly losses. Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo

Jan. 19 (UPI) -- U.S. stocks closed lower Thursday amid ongoing fear that the Federal Reserve will continue to raise interest rates in February.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 252.4 points, or 0.76%, to close at 33,044.56. The S&P 500 dropped 30.01 points, or 0.76%, to 3,898.85, and the Nasdaq Composite slid 104.74 points, or 0.96% to 10,852.27.


"Despite all the big-tech post-pandemic layoffs, the jobs market remains hot," Ed Moya, senior market analyst at Oanda said, according to CNBC. "The labor market needs to break to allow the Fed to comfortably keep rates on hold."

Federal Reserve Governor Lael Brainard said in a speech in Chicago Thursday that the Fed is "determined to stay the course."

"Even with the recent moderation, inflation remains high, and policy will need to be sufficiently restrictive for some time to make sure inflation returns to 2% on a sustained basis," she said.


The Federal Open Market Committee will consider rate hikes at its next meeting Jan. 31-Feb. 1. The Fed raised the federal fund rates seven times in 2022, from near zero in March to its current range of 4.24% to 4.5%.

The federal funds rate guides how much banks charge one another for overnight lending, which trickles down, affecting the economy in all sorts of ways, including how much banks charge consumers for things like mortgages, auto loans and credit cards.

Investors have kept a keen eye on economic reports for hints at when the Fed may begin to ease its stance on monetary policy. Economic data indicating inflation is slowing helped lift the stocks as the new year began, but the rally fizzled this week.

Thursday's declines put all three major indexes on pace for their first weekly losses of the year.

"The factors driving the sharp YTD rally (short covering, risk bid and lower yields) appear to be hitting their near-term bounds," Christopher Harvey, head of equity strategy at Wells Fargo Securities said, according to CNBC. "This will likely will cause the market to trade sideways-to-down over the short term."

Proctor and Gamble was among the companies seeing share prices fall Thursday, closing down 2.71%. The company announced disappointing quarterly financials Thursday, with revenue falling 1% to $20.8 billion and earnings per share dropping 4% to $1.59 for the quarter.


Netflix stock fell 3.23% Thursday. The company's fourth-quarter earnings report, released Thursday, showed mixed results, with earnings per share of 12 cents missing analysts' expectations but better-than expected subscriber growth boosting shares in after-market trading. The company added 7.7 million subscribers, bringing its global paid subscribers to 231 million.

Netflix also announced Thursday that its founder Reed Hastings is stepping down as co-CEO and will serve as executive chairman as part of succession planning that began with the promotion of Ted Sarandos to co-CEO in July 2020. Sarandos and Greg Peters will serve as co-CEOs.

"Ted & Greg are now co-CEOs," Hastings wrote on Twitter. "After 15 years together we have a great shorthand & I'm so confident in their leadership. Twice the heart, double the ability to please members & accelerate growth. Proud to serve as Executive Chairman for many years to come."

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