U.S. stocks were mixed at the open on Thursday, with tech stocks leading the way up following the Federal Reserve’s latest interest rate hike and ahead of another batch of corporate earnings.
Yesterday’s ISM manufacturing report showed the sector shrinking for the third straight month, and the ISM index has dipped below where it bottomed in recent non-recessionary downturns, such as 2015-16. Neither Federal Reserve chair Jay Powell’s press conference yesterday, nor the official statement that preceded it, held many surprises. Both acknowledged that disinflation has begun in earnest, that growth is slowing, but that “ongoing increases” in interest rates are nonetheless likely.
When Jay Powell took to the lectern to give his first press conference of 2023, the Federal Reserve chair stuck to pretty much the same script he has been using since the US central bank started ratcheting up rates last year. “We are going to be cautious about declaring victory and sending signals that we think the game is won, because we’ve got a long way to go,” he told reporters on Wednesday after the Fed raised its benchmark rate by a quarter point.