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Stocks Slide as Debt Ceiling Negotiations Show Little Progress

May 24, 2023

Stocks experienced a decline on Tuesday as discussions regarding the debt ceiling continued with minimal signs of advancement. The S&P 500 dropped 1.12% to settle at 4,145.58, while the Nasdaq Composite pulled back 1.26% to close at 12,560.25. The Dow Jones Industrial Average also lost 0.69%, or 231.07 points, finishing at 33,055.51. The lack of significant updates on the negotiations left some traders concerned about the lawmakers’ ability to make progress as hoped. Investors have been closely watching the debt-limit negotiations, seeking more certainty as the June 1 X-date, projected by Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, approaches. Despite the ongoing uncertainty, market stability has impressed experts like Mohamed El-Erian, the chief economic advisor at Allianz, who noted that the S&P 500 remains fairly priced.

While there is an expectation that lawmakers will eventually reach a resolution regarding the debt ceiling, caution prevails due to persistent recession fears and uncertainty surrounding the Federal Reserve’s next rate move. Sandi Bragar, the chief client officer at Aspiriant, emphasized the need for caution, stating that although many investors are eager to participate in the current market conditions, it may not be the time for excessive enthusiasm. Meanwhile, notable stock movements included Apple’s 1.5% decline following the announcement of a multibillion-dollar chip production deal with Broadcom, and Yelp’s 5.7% increase as an activist investor called for the company to explore a sale.

All sectors performance as debt ceiling negotiations show little progress

Data by Bloomberg

On Tuesday, the stock market saw a general decline across all sectors, with the overall market dropping by 1.12%. The energy sector, however, experienced a slight increase of 1.04%. The utilities sector decreased by 0.34%, while consumer staples and consumer discretionary sectors declined by 0.71% and 0.87%, respectively. The health care sector faced a larger decline of 1.13%. Financials and industrials both experienced decreases of 1.22% and 1.23%, respectively. Real estate and communication services sectors saw larger declines of 1.28% and 1.48%, while the information technology sector had the largest decline at 1.50%. The materials sector also faced a significant decline of 1.54% on Tuesday.

Major Pair Movement

On Tuesday, the market focus was on the EUR/USD, which traded lower due to concerns about slower economic growth, leading to increased demand for safe-haven assets. The divergence between the rate paths of the Federal Reserve (Fed) and the European Central Bank (ECB), along with contrasting data from the United States and the euro zone, contributed to the pair’s decline. The euro zone’s composite PMI for May decreased to 53.3, with a deeper contraction in the manufacturing component at 44.6. In contrast, the U.S. Philly Fed services index improved to -16.0, showing growth in the new orders component. This mixed data caused investors to adjust their expectations for the Fed and ECB rate paths, with rate cuts now priced in for both central banks in the Eurodollar and Euribor rates markets.

Consequently, the USD Index rose slightly by 0.27%, and the dollar’s yield advantage increased, reflected in the widening U.S.-German 2-year spreads. In other major pairs, GBP/USD was slightly lower by 0.17%, AUD/USD fell by 0.57%, and today we are expecting the RBNZ rate statement. The market remains attentive to the developments in central bank policies and economic data, as they continue to impact currency pairs. Traders will closely watch the upcoming RBNZ rate statement for any indications of potential changes in interest rates or monetary policy.

Picks of the Day Analysis

EUR/USD (4 Hours)

EUR/USD Slides as Dollar Strengthens Amid Weak Eurozone Data: Market Focus on Upcoming Releases and US Debt Ceiling Negotiation

The EUR/USD continued to fall after a brief recovery, reaching last week’s lows around 1.0760. The euro remains weak compared to the US dollar due to a stronger dollar and disappointing data from the Eurozone. The European Central Bank’s hawkish statements did not provide much support as economic indicators, such as the Manufacturing index, came below expectations. In contrast, the US dollar remained strong, supported by risk aversion, and mixed economic data. Market participants are eagerly awaiting upcoming economic releases from the Eurozone, as well as the FOMC minutes and ongoing debt-ceiling negotiations in the US.

Chart EURUSD as debt ceiling negotiations show little progress

Chart EURUSD by TradingView

According to technical analysis, the EUR/USD pair is currently undergoing a minor consolidation near its lowest price and close to the lower band of the Bollinger Bands. It is expected that the EUR/USD will remain in a consolidation phase throughout the day. The Relative Strength Index (RSI) is currently at 36, indicating bearish sentiment for the EUR/USD.

Resistance: 1.0815, 1.0848

Support: 1.0750, 1.0715

XAU/USD (4 Hours)

Gold (XAU/USD) Prices Recover Slightly as Market Concerns and Fed’s Mixed Messages Weigh on Investor Sentiment

Gold prices (XAU/USD) initially dropped to $1,954.22 during European trading due to concerns in the market favoring the US Dollar. However, gold managed to recover slightly and is currently trading at around $1,972, showing minimal change for the second consecutive day. The financial markets are exhibiting risk aversion due to lackluster macroeconomic data and uncertainty surrounding the Federal Reserve’s future actions. While the Fed had taken a cautious approach in raising rates earlier in May, recent statements from various Fed members have surprised investors with a more hawkish stance, suggesting the possibility of one or even two more rate hikes. The release of the FOMC meeting minutes on Wednesday is anticipated to provide further insight into monetary policy plans. Additionally, S&P Global’s preliminary estimates indicate that the US services sector experienced faster growth than expected, while manufacturing output contracted to a three-month low. Europe demonstrated a similar pattern, with accelerating services output but contracting industrial activity.

Chart XAUUSD as debt ceiling negotiations show little progress

Chart XAUUSD by TradingView

According to technical analysis, XAU/USD experienced a small upward movement on Tuesday and successfully reached our resistance level. It settled around the middle band of the Bollinger Bands. There is a possibility that XAU/USD could continue moving higher and attempt to reach the upper band of the Bollinger Bands. Currently, the Relative Strength Index (RSI) is at 48, indicating that XAU/USD has returned to a neutral position.

Resistance: $1,991, $2,013

Support: $1,950, $1,934

Economic Data

CurrencyDataTime (GMT + 8)Forecast
NZDOfficial Cash Rate10:005.50%
NZDRBNZ Monetary Policy Statement10:00
NZDRBNZ Rate Statement10:00
NZDRBNZ Press Conference11:00
GBPConsumer Price Index (y/y)14:008.2%

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