Stocks are falling, manufacturing data is available

US stocks fell Wednesday morning to start March ahead of key manufacturing data.

The S&P 500 (^GSPC) and Dow Jones Industrial Average (^DJI) edged down 0.3%. Contracts on the technology-heavy Nasdaq Composite (^IXIC) approached the fixed line.

Stocks had signaled an early rebound on Wednesday after better-than-expected factory and service activity in China signaled the country’s “rapid short-term rebound” in February, said Andrew Tyler, head of the US Market team. Intelligence at JP Morgan.

The yield on the benchmark 10-year US Treasury rose to 3.96% on Wednesday morning. Crude oil traded weaker, with the US benchmark WTI down to $76.56 a barrel.

As for economic data in the United States, Wall Street is awaiting manufacturing data on Wednesday morning, which could say more about the impact of the tightening of monetary policy.

Shares fell on Tuesday, closing the last day of a volatile February on Wall Street. According to JP Morgan’s trading desk, February’s end-of-month rebalancing led to some weakness in stocks and strength in bonds on Tuesday afternoon. Additionally, Goldman Sachs (GS) Investor Day featured a 3.8% selloff in the stock as the bank considers alternatives for its struggling consumer platform business.

“After recent strategic missteps, this update is clearly more evolution than revolution,” JPM financial sector specialist James Goulbourne wrote on Tuesday, “with profitability in the Platform Solutions ancillary business, rather than deeper spending cuts in the core business (which the market really wanted), combined with declining balance sheet exposure that should push yields higher.

Looking back on February, the S&P 500 is now up 3.4% this year, according to data from Bespoke Investment Group. Mega caps have been a massive driver of index moves. That said, 20 of the biggest stocks in the S&P 500 accounted for most of the index’s gains.

Now, as the calendar turns, March historically sees the S&P 500 gains in the second half of the month, Bespoke Investment Group noted.

The trajectory of Federal Reserve rate hikes remains the focus of investors’ concerns. In his first public address since taking office last month, Chicago Fed Chairman Austan Goolsbee said on Tuesday that it would be “a danger and a mistake for policy makers to rely too much on market reactions.” and stressed the importance of “complementing this traditional data with on-the-ground observations of the real economy.

However, Goolsbee, who will be a voter at this year’s Federal Open Market Committee meeting, did not comment on monetary policy.

Since last year, the Fed has raised rates sharply in an effort to calm inflation. But inflation remains sticky. Policymakers will release new projections after the March 21-22 central bank meeting.

University of Chicago professor Austan Goolsbee speaks at the Obama Foundation

Austan Goolsbee. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

On the housing front, mortgage rates are rising, pushing buyers away as the spring housing market gets under way. Purchase and refinance requests fell last week, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association’s seasonally adjusted index. Purchase request volume hit a 28-year low, down 44% from a year ago.

Here are some of the trending tickers on Yahoo Finance today:

  • Eli Lilly and company (THERE IS): Shares of the drugmaker edged higher on Wednesday morning as it expects to cap outlays his insulin at $35 a month. The plan comes as a promise to provide critical relief to some people with diabetes, who sometimes face higher medical costs.

  • Kohls (KSS): Shares of the retail giant fell 1% on Wednesday morning after the company posted a surprise fourth-quarter loss and sales tumbled as consumer habits shift away from discretionary spending.

  • Wendy’s (MAGNIFYING GLASS): The fast food chain announced in its quarterly results its intention to target sales growth until 2025 while rationalizing costs.

  • Rivian (SHORE): The electric truck maker’s forecast for fiscal year 2023 deliveries was 20% below estimates as the electric vehicle maker strives to ramp up production of trucks, vans and SUVs.

  • Nio (NIO): Another electric vehicle maker gave low revenue guidance, the Chinese premium electric vehicle startup, reported a much worse-than-expected loss in the fourth quarter as margins were hit in part by “commitment losses purchase”. The stock fell 3% on Wednesday.

  • RESUME (HPQ): Shares of the PC and printing giant faltered after the company posted mixed results in an environment of weak demand for personal computers. Fiscal quarter sales fell 18% year over year. Printer sales fell 5% from a year ago.

  • Lowes (WEAK): The home improvement company announced weaker fiscal sales in the fourth quarter and issued a cautious outlook ahead, with comparable sales expected to be flat at 2% from a year earlier.

Dani Romero is a reporter for Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter @daniromerotv

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