U.S. stocks finished lower Tuesday, after investors sifted through hotter-than-expected U.S. consumer-price index data and parsed quarterly results from some of the country’s biggest banks, including JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Goldman Sachs Group Inc.

How did stock benchmarks trade?

The Dow Jones Industrial Average

fell 107.39 points, or 0.3%, to end at 34,888.79.

The S&P 500

declined 15.42 points, or 0.4%, to close at 4,369.21.

The Nasdaq Composite

fell 55.59 points, or 0.4%, finishing at 14,677.65.

The Russell 2000 index
which tracks small-cap stocks, dropped 1.9%.

On Monday, all three stock benchmarks finished at all-time highs for the second straight session with the Dow narrowly missing its first close above 35,000, rising 0.4% to end at a record 34,996.18.

What drove the market?

Stocks pulled back Tuesday as investors digested data showing a surge in inflation, and following the results of an auction for 30-year Treasury notes that was “not well received,” according to Sameer Samana, senior global market strategist at Wells Fargo Investment Institute.

 “In an environment where the Fed is willing to tolerate inflation of 2%,” investors were probably asking why they should accept a 30-year bond rate below that level, Samana said in an interview Tuesday. The stock market began fluctuating after the auction, adjusting to the resulting rise in 30-year Treasury yields, he said.

CPI data released Tuesday showed the cost of living jumped in June by the largest amount since 2008, MarketWatch reported. The U.S. consumer-price index rose 0.9% in June. The core reading, which strips out volatile food and energy costs, also rose 0.9%. Both measures were expected to show a 0.5% rise.

Year over year, the headline CPI was up 5.4% in June, while the core rate, excluding food and energy costs, rose 4.5% year-over-year, the sharpest move for that measure since September 1991 and well above the estimate of 3.8%.

“All you have to do is go grocery shopping or fill your car up with gas to know there’s inflation”, said Michael Loukas, CEO of TrueMark Investments, in a phone interview Tuesday. “We all know it’s out there,” he said. “Being surprised by this would kinda be like having your head in the sand.” 

While the economic data likely stirs the debate about whether the Federal Reserve has fallen behind the curve when it comes to inflation by insisting that rising prices will be a “transitory” phenomenon, investor fears of a bout of runaway inflation, for now, look in check.

Thomas H. Kee, chief executive of Stock Traders Daily, argued that investors generally look for inflation, much like earnings growth, to peak soon.

“Reasonably, hot inflation data should still be expected, but if inflation is akin to the upcoming change in earnings growth rates for the market, the next installment of CPI will be tamer,” he wrote in a note. “If the CPI data is this hot next time, it will be a more material concern.”

Kristina Hooper, chief global market strategist at Invesco, said in an interview Tuesday that she still thinks “inflation is largely transitory.” The latest CPI data show rising costs are “concentrated in areas that sync with the reopening,” Hooper said, pointing to transportation as an example. Hooper also said she expects the economy to keep growing this year, with a “pandemic resurgence” now being the biggest tail risk that she sees for the stock market.

Growth stocks fared better than value stocks Tuesday. The Russell 1000 Growth index

fell around 0.2% while the Russell 1000 Value index

saw steeper slide of about 0.8% according to FactSet.

“The market is addicted to growth. It just is,” said Loukas at TrueMark. “Even when it rotated in value, it was begging for growth.” Investors may be turning to secular growth stocks as a hedge against inflation, he said.

A secular growth stock that Loukas likes — Okta Inc.

— is in cybersecurity that bucked the down trend for stocks Tuesday. Shares of Okta climbed 1.4%, according to FactSet data.

Wells Fargo’s Samana still favors cyclical bets in the stock market, including industrials, energy, financial, and materials. “That’s what we would be buying today,” he told MarketWatch Tuesday afternoon, explaining that stocks in those areas should do well as the economy continues to rebound in a period of higher inflation and rising rates.

Soaring recent inflation stems in large part from supply disruptions as demand soars with the reopening of the economy, but if price pressures don’t ease in the near future it could put more stress on the U.S. recovery, some analysts fear.

Members of the Federal Reserve have been insisting that inflation will wane soon once the U.S. and global economies regain a more normal footing, citing price pressures that have been mostly tied to temporary shortages that will fade away as supply catches up to demand.

See: Fed’s Daly says the strong June inflation reading was expected and higher prices won’t last

In other U.S. economic data Tuesday, the National Federation of Independent Business said its small-business index rose in June to the highest level in eight months. The index was up 2.9 points to 102.5 and topped 100 for the first time since November. It had fallen in May for the first time this year.

Stock-market investors also looked for insights from the start of the second-quarter earnings reporting season. Results from banking giants JPMorgan Chase & Co.

and Goldman Sachs Group Inc.

came in early Tuesday, both topping forecasts.

Shares of JPMorgan Chase fell 1.5% after reporting profit that more than doubled, but a fall in revenues. Goldman shares rose in early action after topping profit and revenue expectations and boosting its dividend by 60%, but subsequently turned south to close 1.2% lower. Both banks are constituents of the Dow Jones Industrial Average.

Also, the president of the St. Louis Fed James Bullard said Tuesday the Fed should start reducing the stimulus it provides to the U.S. economy, though he added the reduction didn’t need to start immediately. “I think with the economy growing at 7% and the pandemic coming under better and better control, I think the time is right to pull back emergency measures,” he told the The Wall Street Journal in an interview published Tuesday.

Which companies were in focus?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said it has received reports of 100 people who got the Johnson & Johnson JNJ shot developing Guillain-Barré syndrome, an immune system disorder that can cause muscle weakness and occasionally paralysis. Shares closed 0.1% lower.

Shares of Conagra Brands Inc.

fell 5.4% after the food company warned of inflation pressure for the beginning of fiscal 2022. 

Shares of PepsiCo IncPEP rose 2.3% after the beverage and snacks company reported second-quarter profit and revenue that rose well above expectations and provided an upbeat full-year outlook.

Canadian cannabis company Organigram Holdings Inc. OGI posted a narrower loss for its fiscal third quarter than in the same period a year ago as revenue topped estimates. Shares jumped 10.9%.

Altus Power Inc., the Connecticut-based clean electrification ecosystem company, is going public through a merger announced Tuesday with special-purpose acquisition company CBRE Acquisition Holdings Inc. CBAH, a deal that values the combined company at $1.58 billion. Shares of CBAH rose 1.1%.

 Boeing Co.

shares slid 4.2% after the aerospace giant said it has identified additional work that is required on its undelivered 787s, delaying their delivery through the rest of 2021.

What did other markets do?

The yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose 5.3 basis points to 1.415%.

The ICE U.S. Dollar Index
a measure of the currency against a basket of six major rivals, was up 0.6%.

Oil futures settled higher, with the U.S. benchmark

up nearly 1.6%. Gold futures

also ticked up, ending 0.2% higher.

In European equities, the Stoxx 600 Europe

rose less than 0.1% to a record close. London’s FTSE 100

fell less than 0.1%.

In Asia, the Hang Seng Index

jumped 1.6% in Hong Kong, while the Shanghai Composite

and Japan’s Nikkei 225

each advanced 0.5%.

—Mark DeCambre contributed to this report

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