Wall Street rattled over Fed worries

A trader works, as a screen displays a news conference by Federal Reserve Board Chairman Jerome Powell following the Fed rate announcement, on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York City, U.S., January 31, 2024. 

Brendan McDermid | Reuters

This report is from today’s CNBC Daily Open, our international markets newsletter. CNBC Daily Open brings investors up to speed on everything they need to know, no matter where they are. Like what you see? You can subscribe here.

What you need to know today

Wall Street retreats
U.S. stocks
lost ground on Monday and Treasury yields rose amid lingering concerns that the Federal Reserve may not cut rates as much as expected. The blue-chip Dow fell over 200 points. The S&P 500 also slumped after hitting a record high last week. The Nasdaq Composite also dropped 0.2%. 

Oil’s supply crunch
The oil market faces a supply crunch by the end of 2025 as the world is not replacing crude reserves fast enough, according to Occidental CEO Vicki Hollub. About 97% of the oil produced today was discovered in the 20th century, she told CNBC. 

Palantir surges
Shares of Palantir spiked 19% in extended trading after the company reported revenue that topped analysts’ estimates. In a letter to shareholders, Palantir CEO Alex Karp said demand for large language models in the U.S. “continues to be unrelenting.”

Red Sea tensions
Higher shipping costs due to tensions in the Red Sea could hinder the global fight against inflation, said the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. Clare Lombardelli, chief economist at the OECD, told CNBC that shipping-driven inflation pressures remain a risk rather than its base case.

[PRO] Banking allure
The banking sector offers attractive opportunities despite an increase in volatility, according to fund manager Cole Smead. “It’s the banks that made bad decisions that are making [other] banks look attractive in pricing,” Smead told CNBC, who picked two bank stocks that are in play. 

The bottom line

Investors are once again getting ahead of themselves on the Fed’s next move.

Markets were rattled after Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell reiterated the central bank is unlikely to rush to lower interest rates. 

Wall Street has been parsing his hawkish comments, yet in essence what Powell said over the weekend was no different than what he shared at Wednesday’s press conference: that he wants to see more evidence that inflation is coming down to a sustainable level.

Still, the debate over the timing of rate cuts unsettled Fed watchers.  

This sparked a sell-off spurred by higher bond yields. The yield on the 10-year Treasury spiked for a second day, trading around 4.163%. Typically, higher yields tend to indicate investors think the Fed will take longer to cut rates. 

Fresh data out Monday also didn’t help.  A new survey showed the U.S. services sector expand at a faster-than-expected clip in January. 

This on top of the booming jobs report released Friday, fueled investor worries that rates may stay elevated for much longer.

Wall Street will now look ahead to the swath of Fed speakers this week. Perhaps they will shed more light on the path for rate cuts.

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