Stock market today: Wall Street ticks down as sustained high yields in bonds weigh on markets

Oct 20, 2023, 12:00 AM

Wall Street is pointing lower early Friday, potentially setting up another day of losses as sustained and elevated bond yields pull money from stocks.

Futures for the S&P 500 and the Dow Jones Industrial Average ticked down 0.2% before the bell.

Global shares retreated as the prospect of a 5% yield on the 10-year U.S. Treasury for the first time since 2007 added to pressure on Wall Street, though the yield held steady below that level early Friday.

As the reference point for much of the financial world, the 10-year Treasury yield helps set prices for all kinds of investments and loans. A higher 10-year yield makes mortgages more expensive, knocks down prices for investments and makes it costlier for companies to borrow and grow.

Rapidly rising bond yields have been squeezing Wall Street since the summer. The yield on the 10-year Treasury touched 4.99%, up from 4.91% late Wednesday. Early Friday, it was 4.98%.

Fed Chair Jerome Powell said Thursday that the Fed could raise interest rates again if U.S. economic growth appears persistently strong. The Fed has raised rates to their highest level since 2001 hoping to curb price pressures by getting businesses and consumers to spend less.

Shares of SolarEdge tumbled 28% in off-hours trading after the solar technology company slashed its sales and profit expectations for the current quarter. The company, based in tel Aviv, Israel, said that the war there was not a factor in the guidance cut, but rather, a slew of order cancellations in Europe due in part to slower-than-expected installation rates.

In Europe at midday, Germany’s DAX fell 1.3% and the CAC 40 in Paris lost 1.2%. Britain’s FTSE 100 was down 1.1%.

Investors are also watching developments in the Middle East, where Israel bombarded Gaza early Friday, hitting areas in the south where Palestinians had been told to seek safety.

Oil prices rose again with escalating conflict fueling supply concerns. The price of oil depends on how much of it is consumed and how much is available. The latter is under threat because of the Hamas-Israel war, even though the Gaza Strip is not home to major crude production.

A barrel of benchmark U.S. crude rose $1.21 to $89.58 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It gained $1.05 to settle at $89.37 on Thursday. Brent crude, the international standard, picked up $1.16 to $93.54 per barrel.

In Asian trading, Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 index lost 0.5% to 31,259.36 after the government reported that consumer inflation was higher than expected in September. The core inflation rate, which excludes volatile fresh food prices, rose 2.8% from a year earlier in September.

It was the first time in 13 months that core CPI inflation has fallen below 3%. But when excluding both fresh food and fuel prices, inflation was 4.2%, still close to the 40-year peak of 4.3% recorded earlier this year.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng shed 0.7% to 17,172.13 and the Shanghai Composite index dropped 0.7% to 2,983.06.

China announced on Friday it was keeping its benchmark lending rates unchanged, with the one-year loan prime rate unchanged at 3.45% and the five-year LPR at 4.20%, in line with market expectations. That dashed hopes of a lift from a rate cut for the ailing property sector.

The Kospi in Seoul lost 1.7% to 2,375.00. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 sank 1.2% to 6,900.70. India’s Sensex was 0.3% lower.

In currency trading Friday, the U.S. dollar rose slightly to 149.93 Japanese yen from 149.78 yen. The euro cost $1.0593, up from $1.0579.

On Thursday, the S&P 500 fell 0.8% and the Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 0.7%. The Nasdaq composite sank 1%.


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Stock market today: Wall Street ticks down as sustained high yields in bonds weigh on markets