Stock Market Today: January 24, 2022
Adam Rosner | 1/24/2022
Before The Bell - The U.S. stock market seems to be under some pressure this morning as the new week on Wall Street commences. Specifically, the S&P 500 futures are trading about 30 points lower, which suggests some softness at the start of the session. This week, traders will be concentrating on fourth-quarter corporate profits, while also speculating about the Federal Reserve’s next move. Escalating tensions between Russia and Ukraine seem to be another pressing concern, and could contribute to the volatility.
In the economic arena, there are few notable items scheduled for today. However, tomorrow the Conference Board’s Consumer Confidence Index for the month of January will be released. Wall Street will likely be paying attention to this issuance, given that the consumer is an integral part of the broader economy. This week’s main event, however, will take place on Wednesday afternoon, when the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) wraps up its two-day meeting and issues an interest-rate decision. Few traders anticipate that a major policy change will occur on Wednesday, but the Central Bank’s views on inflation, the labor markets, and the economy will be of importance, as these factors clearly help shape policy. As such, Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell’s scheduled remarks, which will follow Wednesday’s decision, are certain to be closely dissected by investors.
Meanwhile, the fourth-quarter earnings season is in progress. After hearing from several large financial institutions last week, this week will see reports from some major technology companies. After the market closes today, International Business Machines (IBM) posts its results, while tomorrow, we hear from Microsoft (MSFT), and on Thursday, Apple (AAPL). Traders should be closely watching these reports, as these companies serve as barometers for the larger technology sector. Of late, many technology operators have come under pressure, as component shortages have led to product delays and have hampered business.
On the whole, the month of January has been quite difficult for stocks. Last week’s bout of selling pushed the S&P 500 Index down to its 200-day moving average, located near the 4,430 level. The NASDAQ has also fallen quite a bit, with sizable declines in many of the speculative technology names. Meanwhile, the volatility index (VIX), which is a measure of investor sentiment, has edged higher lately; this may be a positive development, as traders view extreme readings on this index as an indication that the market may be stating to change direction. – Adam Rosner
At the time of this article’s writing, the author did not have positions in any of the companies mentioned.