Stocks mixed as investors await wave of economic reports

U.S. stocks were mixed Monday as investors prepare for a busy week rife with key economic data that could position the Federal Reserve to act more aggressively on plans to raise interest rates.

The S&P 500 dipped about 0.2%, and the Dow Jones Industrial Average shed 130 points. The Nasdaq Composite was up 0.3%. The moves come after all three major benchmarks registered their second straight week of gains on Friday to close at one-month highs. Meanwhile, bond yields continued to climb, with the 10-year U.S. Treasury near 2.5% Monday morning.

Investors are beginning to price in a ramp up in rate hikes this year after recent remarks from Fed Chair Jerome Powell signaled a 50 basis point bump was on the table as officials lean into higher borrowing costs aimed to curb surging inflation levels. Economic data out of Washington this week could further stoke expectations central bank policymakers may move ahead with a half-point hike.

The all-important March jobs report is the highlight of economic reports this week. Labor market tightness has strongly informed the Fed’s decision to rein in monetary policy, with momentum in the economic recovery suggesting to officials that the U.S. economy could weather less accommodative financial conditions. Moreover, while an improving labor market is good for U.S. households, widespread job openings have made room for significant leverage for workers, driving wage gains higher and further elevating inflationary pressures. The report is likely to show another robust reading with payrolls expected to rise by 490,000, according to Bloomberg economist estimates.

“The payroll jobs report could be the biggest one yet in this recovery from the pandemic,” FWDBONDS chief economist Christopher Rupkey said in a recent note. “Federal Reserve officials are already chomping at the bit for bigger 50 bps rate hikes at upcoming meetings, and the tightest labor market since the 1960s is like pouring gasoline on the fire where any policy official worth his or her salt is burning with desire to get interest rates up to 2% neutral levels now.”

Another focal point for traders on the economic data front this week is a fresh read on the monthly personal consumption expenditures (PCE) deflator due out Thursday. The gauge is another indicator of how quickly prices are increasing across the country. Consensus economists expect the PCE to post a rise of another 0.6% in February, according to Bloomberg data. The core PCE index, which the Fed uses to conduct monetary policy, is also expected to show an increase when the print publishes Wednesday. Consensus economists are looking for a 5.5% increase in core PCE in February, compared to January’s 5.2% rise.

Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine also continues to be on the radar for investors. U.S. officials have walked back contentious remarks made by President Joe Biden over the weekend that appeared to call for the removal of Russian President Vladimir Putin during a speech in Poland.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken told reporters Sunday during a visit to Israel that the U.S. is not seeking to remove Putin from power.

“As you know, and as you’ve heard us say repeatedly, we do not have a strategy of regime change in Russia or anywhere else,” Blinken said. “In this case, as in any case, it’s up to the people of the country in question. It’s up to the Russian people.”

2:13 p.m. ET: AMC rallies amid plans for more deals

AMC’s (AMC) rallied as much as 29% in intraday trading to over $25 a piece in intraday trading, marking the highest price level since early January.

“I’d like to think there will be more third-party external M&A announcements going forward where AMC can reach for the stars and intriguing investments that have potentially attractive returns,” Aron said.

The movie theater company’s CEO Adam Aron told Reuters investors can expect to see more “transformational” deals in the future. Earlier in March, AMC said it was buying a stake in gold and silver miner Hycroft Mining Holding Corp (HYMC). Shares of the Northern Nevada-based company were up 52% after Hycroft announced it completed a $138.5 million stock offering program.

1:45 p.m. ET: Walmart to end tobacco sales in some U.S. store locations

German luxury carmaker Porsche is reportedly working with U.S. lithium metal battery manufacturer QuantumScape Corporation (QS) to develop an electric version of its 911 vehicle, powered by solid-state batteries.

Shares of QuantumScape popped following reports of the partnership. The company’s stock as up 12.72% to $19.49 per share as of 1:39 p.m. ET.

Porsche AG, which has nearly 100 years of experience manufacturing sports cars has recently turned its development to more electric vehicles. Its EV transition began with the popular Taycan model and followed with all-electric Macan, another one of its globally-recognized models.

Porsche CEO Oliver Blume said during a recent financial that the of 300,000 vehicles delivered by the company globally in 2021, 41,296 were the all-electric Taycan, outselling its favored Porsche 911.

10:52 a.m. ET: Walmart to end tobacco sales in some U.S. store locations

Walmart Inc. (WMT) will halt tobacco products sales in some of its stores, the company said Monday, without indicating how many locations specifically would be affected by the decision.

Cigarettes will be removed from stores located in California, Florida and New Mexico. However, the world’s largest retailer will not be exiting the category entirely.

The move comes following calls from several Democratic U.S. senators urging the company and other retailers to stop selling all tobacco products. CVS became the first U.S. drugstore chain to take cigarettes off the shelves in 2014.

Walmart previously stopped sales of e-cigarettes and electronic nicotine delivery products at its U.S. stores a few years ago amid regulatory scrutiny.

10:45 a.m. ET: Amazon erases year-to-date losses to reclaim title as Big Tech leader

Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN) rallied to start the week, becoming the first megacap tech company to pare losses for the year.

Shares of the e-commerce giant jumped as much as 2.2% to their highest level since Jan. 4 to trade flat on the year after erasing more than 18% earlier this month. The stock traded at about $3,337.60 per share, up 1.28%m as of 10:41 a.m. ET.

“We’ve seen a shift back into these kinds of high-quality growth names, with strong balance sheets and market positions, and Amazon’s strength also reflects how strong the consumer continues to be,” Charles Schwab vice president of trading and derivatives Randy Frederick said.

The company eased worries about its post-pandemic growth prospects after blowout fourth-quarter results in early February that sent shares soaring. Amazon also announced a 20-for-1 stock split one month later, spurring further gains for the company.

10:30 a.m. ET: Tesla shares pop after company unveils plans for another stock split

Tesla Inc. (TSLA) is plotting its second stock split in roughly two years in the form of a dividend The electric-car maker will ask shareholders to vote at this year’s annual meeting to authorize additional shares in order to enable the plit, the company announced in a tweet.

The news sent the stock up more than 5% to trade at about $1,064.28 per share as of 10:26 a.m. ET.

“On March 28, 2022, Tesla, Inc. announced its plan to request stockholder approval at the upcoming 2022 Annual Meeting of Stockholders for an increase in the number of authorized shares of common stock through an amendment to the Company’s Amended and Restated Certificate of Incorporation in order to enable a stock split of the Company’s common stock in the form of a stock dividend. Tesla’s Board of Directors has approved the management proposal, but the stock dividend will be contingent on final Board approval,” a subsequent filing by Tesla with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) said.

Tesla joins other Big Tech giants including Amazon, Alphabet, and Apple planning a stock split.

9:30 a.m. ET: Stocks dip with busy week of economic data underway

Here’s where markets were trading during the open on Monday:

  • S&P 500 (^GSPC): -4.40 (-0.10%) to 4,538.66

  • Dow (^DJI): -41.98 (-0.12%) to 34,819.26

  • Nasdaq (^IXIC): +12.18 (+0.09%) to 14,181.48

  • Crude (CL=F): -$7.38 (-6.48%) to $106.52 a barrel

  • Gold (GC=F): -$21.10 (-1.08%) to $1,933.10 per ounce

  • 10-year Treasury (^TNX): -3 bps to yield 2.4620%

9:12 a.m. ET: HP seeks to purchase Poly in $3.3 billion cash deal

HP Inc. (HP) has set out to acquire audio and video devices maker Poly in a deal valued at $3.3 billion as the company looks to capitalize on the rise of hybrid work.

The information technology firm has offered $40 for each share, or about $1.7 billion total in cash, of Poly, formerly known as Plantronics. The amount represents a premium of about 53% to the stock’s last closing price.

“The rise of the hybrid office creates a once-in-a-generation opportunity to redefine the way work gets done,” HP Chief Executive Officer Enrique Lores said.

Shares of HP fell 2.2% in premarket trading to about $38.95 a piece as of 9:10 a.m. ET. Meanwhile, Poly’s (POLY) stock surged 48% to $38.87 per share.

7:55 a.m. ET: Stock futures flat after indexes notch two straight weeks of gains

After nine straight sessions of gains, Apple Inc. (AAPL) is poised to cap its longest winning streak this year following a report the iPhone maker is cutting production of its iPhone SEs by about 20% next quarter due to lower demand for consumer electronics.

Shares of Apple fell as much as 2% in premarket trading Monday. Apple traded at about $172.48 per share as of 7:53 a.m. ET.

The tech giant also reduced orders for its AirPod earphones by more than 10 million units for 2022. AirPods have become the most widely-sold wireless earphones, helping Apple grab more than 25% global market share, according to Bloomberg, which cited research the firm Counterpoint.

Meanwhile, an Oscar win for Apple TV’s film “CODA” on Sunday could also be a win for the company in the streaming race.

“If Apple was to win the coveted best picture award with CODA it would catalyze more A+ talent coming to Apple first (or in the top bracket) and could propel Cupertino’s content efforts by multiples over the coming years with a major paid subscriber boost,” Wedbush tech analyst Dan Ives said ahead of the award show.

HANGZHOU, CHINA - APRIL 24, 2020 - A customer shows a newly purchased phone Se in Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province, China, April 24, 2020. On the same day, Apple's new iPhone SE phone officially launched in the world.- PHOTOGRAPH BY Costfoto / Barcroft Studios / Future Publishing (Photo credit should read Costfoto/Barcroft Media via Getty Images)

HANGZHOU, CHINA – APRIL 24, 2020 – A customer shows a newly purchased phone Se in Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province, China, April 24, 2020. On the same day, Apple’s new iPhone SE phone officially launched in the world.- PHOTOGRAPH BY Costfoto / Barcroft Studios / Future Publishing (Photo credit should read Costfoto/Barcroft Media via Getty Images)

7:36 a.m. ET: Stock futures flat after indexes notch two straight weeks of gains

Here were the main moves in markets at in pre-market trading Monday:

  • S&P 500 futures (ES=F): +1.25 points (+0.03%) to 4,537.75

  • Dow futures (YM=F): +22.00 points (+0.06%) to 34,781.00

  • Nasdaq futures (NQ=F): -12.25 points (-0.08%) to 14,743.50

  • Crude (CL=F): -$5.29 (-4.64%) to $108.61 a barrel

  • Gold (GC=F): -$24.70 (-1.26%) to $1,929.50 per ounce

  • 10-year Treasury (^TNX): 0.00 bps to yield 2.492%

A trader works on the trading floor at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in Manhattan, New York City, U.S., March 7, 2022. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly

A trader works on the trading floor at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in Manhattan, New York City, U.S., March 7, 2022. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly

Alexandra Semenova is a reporter for Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter @alexandraandnyc

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