Day Traders Diary


The major averages declined to start the week and to start the month of November as traders assessed better-than-expected economic data and prepared for another likely rate hike from the Federal Reserve. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 79.75 points, or 0.24%, to 32,653.20, while the S&P 500 slid 0.41% to 3,856.10. The Nasdaq Composite shed 0.89% to 10,890.85.

All the major averages opened higher but turned negative after job openings in September showed a resilient labor market. The news heightened fears that the central bank may keep its aggressive stance as it fights to tame high inflation.

"Any time you get good news, the market doesn't like it because it just means that the Fed is probably going to be tightening more and potentially for longer," said Randy Frederick, managing director of trading and derivatives at the Schwab Center for Financial Research. "We're still in the bad news is good news cycle."

Tuesday marked the start of the Fed's November meeting, which many expect will result in a 75 basis point interest rate hike on Wednesday. Investors will monitor the central bank's statement and Fed Chair Jerome Powell's press conference for signs of a slowing tightening pace.

Some losses were mitigated Tuesday as a better-than-feared earnings season continued with a strong report from Pfizer. Uber shares popped nearly 12% on a revenue beat. Companies this season have grappled with high inflation, rising rates and a strong dollar.

Wall Street is coming off a strong month of gains. The Dow rallied nearly 14% in October, its biggest monthly advance since January 1976 as investors rotated out of technology and into stalwarts like banks. The S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite added about 8% and 3.9%, respectively.

Investors may be getting a bit too excited about potential changes from the Federal Reserve, according to Lauren Goodwin, economist and portfolio strategist at New York Life Investments.

Goodwin said in a note that she expected the Fed to hike by 0.75 of a percentage point on Wednesday and half a point in December, but that the slowdown should not be seen as the start of a big shift from the central bank.

"A Fed pause is not the same as a pivot. Certainly, deteriorating economic and credit conditions could cause the Fed to pivot modestly at some point, but a full pivot into accommodative territory is highly unlikely in the next year," Goodwin said in a note.

Goodwin pointed out that the first rate hikes should now start to show their impact across the broad economy, instead of just housing. However, the Fed will need several months of data to go its way before changing course.

"At this point, with inflation surprising as much as it has already, the Fed will want to see clear signs of reversal in wage growth before pivoting. Recession should be considered a base case rather than a risk," Goodwin said.

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