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17 Feb 2021 | 15:35

US open: Stocks in the red amid data onslaught

(Sharecast News) - Wall Street stocks were in the red early on Wednesday after the Dow Jones hit yet another all-time high in the previous session. As of 1525 GMT, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 0.19% at 31,463.66, while the S&P 500 was 0.51% weaker at 3,912.48 and the Nasdaq Composite came out the gate 1.13% softer at 13,888.22.

The Dow opened 59.09 points lower on Wednesday, cutting into gains recorded in what was a mixed session for major indices following the President's Day long weekend.

In focus on Wednesday, Hilton posted a surprise quarterly loss as a surge in new Covid-19 cases continued to weigh on bookings, while Verizon stock was in the green after Berkshire Hathaway took up a sizeable $8.0bn stake in the telco.

Shopify doubled sales for a second consecutive quarter but warned of growth slowing in 2021, while Jack in the Box and Hyatt Hotels will update on recent trading after the close.

On the macro front, total mortgage application volume fell 5.1% week-on-week, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association, as another week of rising rates turned away both homeowners and buyers alike.

In other data news, retail sales volumes in the US shot higher last month with across the board strength in all categories. According to the Department of Commerce, retail sales volumes surged at a month-on-month pace of 5.3% in January to reach $509.8bn in seasonally adjusted terms, markedly better than the 0.8% rise expected on the Street.

Elsewhere, wholesale inflation rose more quickly than expected at the start of 2021 on the back of a jump in energy and services prices. According to the Department of Labor, in seasonally adjusted terms, so-called final demand prices increased at a month-on-month pace of 1.3% in January and 1.7% on the year, ahead of expectations for prints of 0.4% and 0.8%, respectively.

Moving on, US industry expanded for a fourth straight month in January, according to the Federal Reserve, but still has a way to go in order to fully return to levels seen before the Covid-19 pandemic. Industrial production, which includes output factories, mines and utilities, rose 0.9% in January, greater than most economists had projected but still 1.8% below production in January 2020.

Still on data, US business inventories rose 0.6% in December, according to the Census Bureau, ahead of an expected reading of 0.5%, as sales rose 0.8% in the month.

Lastly, February's homebuilder confidence index from the National Association of Housebuilders came in at a reading of 84, ahead of both the prior month's reading and estimates of 83.

Still to come, the Federal Reserve will publish minutes from its latest FOMC meeting at 1900 GMT, while Richmond Fed president Tom Barkins, Boston Fed president Eric Rosengren and Dallas fed head Robert Kaplan will all deliver speeches throughout the course of the day.

Also drawing an amount of investor attention was the 10-year Treasury yield topping 1.30% on Tuesday, a level not seen since February 2020, while the 30-year rate also hit its highest level in a year, leading many on the Street to believe that higher rates could lead to a rotation out of equities and into bonds, putting pressure on areas of the market that have previously benefitted from the low-rate environment.
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