Wall Street nervous ahead of Fed Chairman’s hearing

(New York) The New York Stock Exchange opened lower on Wednesday, again concerned about a general economic slowdown and nervous before the hearing of the president of the American central bank (Fed) before the American Congress.

Around 10:05 am, the Dow Jones yielded 0.70%, the NASDAQ index, with a strong technological composition, lost 0.08%, and the broader S&P 500 index, 0.49%.

After a sunny session on Tuesday, the indices were back in the red, “a change in direction which seems linked to a fundamental concern about the growth outlook, put aside yesterday in favor of a technical rebound”, commented, in a note, Patrick O’Hare, of Briefing.com.

Most of the barometers of risk aversion, from the VIX volatility index to the price of sovereign bonds, thus rose at the start of the session.

The yield on 10-year US government bonds eased sharply, to 3.12%, against 3.28% the day before, with bond rates moving in the opposite direction to their price.

All eyes are on the US Senate Banking Committee, before which Fed Chairman Jerome Powell is hearing from 11:30 a.m. The official will also be heard tomorrow by the House of Representatives Finance Committee.

“We know what he’s going to say. He will try to pass for being fighting against inflation by all means,” explained Gregori Volokhine, of Meeschaert Financial Services.

“He is accountable to the representatives of the people. As he cannot say that he prevented inflation from happening, he must have a very, very tough speech vis-à-vis his fight against inflation,” continued the manager. “And obviously that’s not what the market wants to hear. »

For analysts at Schwab, “conviction in equities is lacking as inflationary pressure forces central banks to tighten monetary policy, fueling inflation fears. »

The latest central banks to tighten the screw, the Czech National Bank and the Central Bank of Iceland, which respectively raised their key rate on Wednesday by 1.25 percentage points (to bring it to 7%) and 1 point (to 4.75%).

“Members of the (senator’s) committee will riddle the Fed chairman with questions about how he intends to curb inflation without tipping the economy,” predicted Patrick O’Hare. “At this point, the market is far from convinced that it can do it. »

“The tightening of financial conditions […] should continue to temper growth and help better balance demand and supply,” said Jerome Powell in his opening remarks on Wednesday.

The Fed “expects that in two years, the unemployment rate will rise to 4.1%, but this is not enough” to bring inflation close to its target of 2%, believes Gregori Volokhine. “And how can he say that he is continuing to fight against full employment when what he is going to do is going to help destroy jobs? But he has no choice. »

In tune with the price of black gold, oil stocks unscrewed on Wednesday, from ExxonMobil (-3.16%) to Marathon Oil (-5.74%). The heavy weather that blew in general, on all raw materials, also affected the mining company Freeport McMoRan (-7.33%) or the steelmaker US Steel (-2.70%).

The tobacco company Altria plunged (-8.88% to 41.64 dollars) after the government’s decision, announced on Tuesday, to reduce the nicotine level of cigarettes sold in the United States, which would, according to experts, limit the smoker addiction.

Another blow for the group from Richmond (Virginia), the American agency which notably regulates the marketing of tobacco and its affiliated products is preparing to ban the sale of Juul products, a giant of electronic cigarettes in which Altria owns 35% of the capital.

Revlon continued its wild ride (+42.41% to 8.63 dollars). After having melted by 73% after the publication of the first information related to its bankruptcy filing, which took place on Thursday, the cosmetics group saw the value of the title more than quintuple, boosted in particular by the influx of private investors, decided to speculate on the action.

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