On Tuesday, U.S. stocks closed mixed, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average closing down 390 points. Investors continue to focus on the risk of a U.S. recession and the Fed’s policy outlook as they review the latest earnings results of big banks such as Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley.
The Dow fell 391.76 points, or 1.14%, to close at 33910.85. Meanwhile, the Nasdaq rose 15.96 points, or 0.14%, to 11095.11, and the S&P 500 fell 8.12 points, or 0.20%, to 3990.97.
Big Banks Report Earnings
A number of large banks continue to report earnings. Goldman Sachs shares closed down 6.46 percent, becoming the biggest faller for the Dow 30 component, after the bank reported its worst earnings decline in the fourth quarter. Goldman said its results were under pressure from falling revenues from investment banking and asset management. Morgan Stanley, however, beat expectations, thanks in part to record revenue in its wealth management division. The announcement follows mixed results from JP Morgan Chase and Citigroup and other big banks.
Earnings Beat Expectations
As of Tuesday morning ET, about 7% of the S&P 500 component companies had reported earnings. Of those companies, 70% of earnings beat expectations. United Airlines will report its quarterly results after the close on Tuesday.
New Year, New Market
Entering 2023, the U.S. stock market has recorded two consecutive weeks of gains. In the first two weeks of the New Year, the Nasdaq rose 5.9% as investors bought already battered technology stocks as the outlook for growth stocks improved. The S&P 500 rose 4.2% and 3.5% respectively over the same period.
Inflation and the Fed’s Policy
Investors see the first batch of inflation-related data this year pointing to a contraction in the U.S. economy, but they will also give the Fed reason to slow the pace of rate hikes. Last week, the December consumer price index showed that prices fell 0.1% from the previous month, but were still up 6.5% from a year earlier.
Risk of Recession
Economists also widely see the risk of a recession this year, and that many companies could accelerate layoffs in the second quarter. According to a survey of 71 economists in business and academia, there is a 61 percent chance of a recession in the next 12 months. That probability is down 2 percentage points from the October survey, but remains at a record high.
Concerns Over Fed’s Policy
Three-quarters of respondents believe that while the Fed expects to reduce inflation by slowing economic growth rather than shrinking across the board, the Fed may eventually be unable to adequately address the problems of excessive rate hikes and underinvestment. The expected “soft landing” for the economy may not happen, and high inflation and the Fed’s policy efforts to curb inflation will be the biggest risks to the economy this year.
The survey also showed that GDP is likely to grow just 0.1% in the first quarter, expected to shrink 0.4% in the second quarter, zero growth in the third quarter and 0.6% in the fourth quarter. For all of 2023, the U.S. economy is likely to grow by just 0.2%.
According to the survey results, there is still a debate over whether and when the U.S. recession will come. ZipRecruiter Chief Economist Julia Pollak said, “I do think that this issue may be more uncertain