Tech stocks drag market lower…Powell underscores weakness
NEW YORK (AP) – A massive decline in technology stocks has been dragging the broader market lower in early trading, as investors remain increasingly focused on a big tick up in bond yields and what it means for the overall market. The tech-heavy Nasdaq pulled back another 2.3% in the first few minutes of trading, while the broader S&P 500 index of big U.S. companies lost 0.8%. Apple, PayPal and Twitter were all moving lower. Meanwhile Treasury yields continued to climb, pushing the yield on the 10-year note up to 1.37%, its highest level in a year.
WASHINGTON (AP) – Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell is underscoring the U.S. economy’s ongoing weakness in remarks that suggest that the Fed sees no need to alter its ultra-low interest rate policies anytime soon. Powell’s comments are in contrast to increasing optimism among many analysts that the economy will grow rapidly later this year. That outlook has also raised concerns about a potential surge in inflation and fueled a sharp increase in longer-term interest rates this year. Most economists say they think the Fed’s continued low rates, further government financial aid and progress in combating the viral pandemic could create a mini-economic boom as soon as this summer.
SILVER SPRING, Md. (AP) – U.S. consumer confidence rose again in February as an improved COVID-19 vaccine push has Americans more optimistic about the future. The Conference Board reports that its consumer confidence index rose to 91.3, up from 88.9 in January. The present situation index, which is based on consumers’ assessment of current business and labor market conditions, rose to 92 from 85.5 last month. The expectations index – based on consumers’ near-term outlook for income, business, and labor conditions – ticked down slightly to 90.8 this month from 91.2 in January.
WASHINGTON (AP) – U.S. home prices surged at the fastest pace in nearly seven years in December, fueled by low mortgage rates and Americans moving from urban apartments to houses in the suburbs. The S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller 20-city home price index climbed 10.1% in December from a year earlier. The year-end jump was the biggest since April 2014 and follows a strong 9.2% year-over-year gain in November. Home prices climbed 14.4% in Phoenix, 13.6% in Seattle and 13% in Seattle. But prices were rising all over. Chicago, which recorded the slowest price gain, saw a 7.7% uptick.
BETHESDA, Md. (AP) – Marriott International has named a new CEO and a new president, a little more than a week after its former leader died of cancer. Marriott said Tony Capuano has been appointed CEO. Capuano joined the hotel company in 1995 and most recently served as group president of global development, design and operations services. Stephanie Linnartz will serve as Marriott’s president. Marriott’s former President and CEO Arne Sorenson died on Feb. 15, two years after he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.