Day Traders Diary

11/15/22

The major averages finished higher, but off their highs as they resumed their inflation-driven rally after another report signaled that price increases could be slowing. The Dow Jones Industrial Average ended the day up 56 points, or 0.2%. The S&P 500 advanced 34 points or 0.8% while the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite gained 162 points or 1.4%.

Major indexes traded off their highs, with the Dow and S&P briefly dipping into the red, after crude oil prices moved higher suddenly. Oil prices later eased from those highs, with West Texas Intermediate futures last up 1.2% at $86.90 per barrel.

The major averages initially rallied after the producer price index, a measure of wholesale inflation, showed a 0.2% increase for the month of October, versus the consensus estimate for a 0.4% increase from Dow Jones. The report comes after last week's consumer price index data showed signs of inflationary pressure abating last month, sparking a sharp rally.

"The PPI read certainly adds more fuel to the fire for those who feel we may finally be on a downward inflation trend," said Mike Loewengart, head of model portfolio construction at Morgan Stanley's Global Investment Office. "The market embraced last week's consumer downtick and today's initial reaction seems to be more of the same."

The peak-inflation narrative is gaining traction, but the bar for a Fed pivot is still high, said Ross Mayfield, investment strategy analyst at Baird.

"There will be trepidation at the central bank given their credibility concerns and desire to avoid the mistakes of the 1970s (i.e., stop and start policy that prolonged the inflationary spell)," he said. "But the crumbs are already being laid for a deceleration in pace of tightening heading into 2023."

Elsewhere, retail stocks also lifted investor sentiment. Walmart shares jumped after the company beat Wall Street earnings and revenue estimates and boosted full-year guidance. Home Depot reported strong results too but kept guidance in place for the full-year. Its shares rose slightly.

"Retail earnings are off to a pretty decent start, and could serve to reinforce the broader narrative of consumer resilience and labor market tightness," Mayfield said. "Earnings are critically important from here... the pace and breadth of the earnings deceleration (or re-acceleration) should determine the next leg for equities."

Taiwan Semiconductor, Louisiana-Pacific and Paramount also jumped after regulatory filings showed that Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway had bought new positions in the first two, and raised its stake in the last.

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