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Markets Lose Impetus in Summer Trading Today

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Markets started at the opening bell looking in good shape, like a nice morning jog on a lovely summer morning. China looks like it’s starting to reopen its doors, in a somewhat orderly fashion, which would go a long way toward providing growth to the global marketplace. But it didn’t take long for the sticky humidity to descend on our day; by lunchtime all major indices were lower. Skip the picnic.

What happened? Not much. Oil went back up: WTI and Brent rose +2% and +2.8%, respectively, and Warren Buffett’s favorite commodity stock, Occidental Petroleum OXY, grew nearly +5% on the day. This is at least partly a direct result of the Chinese machines getting up and running again — and increasing global demand on energy products.

Big tech firms took it on the chin, which is why the Nasdaq fared the worst this trading day: -2.98%, versus -1.56% on the Dow and -2.01% on the S&P 500. So why would a forward-looking company like NVIDIA NVDA tumble another -5% on the day, after falling almost -10% in just the past month? Crypto-specific: the GPUs going toward the cryptocurrency market are seeing some demand destruction, with Bitcoin -57% year to date, -2% today. Plus, NVIDIA’s forward P/E isn’t exactly cheap, even now…

Nike NKE got whacked down -7% today, too, after just yesterday beating fiscal Q4 estimates on both its top and bottom lines. But cautious guidance — including some cloudiness about China’s pending reopening, a huge market for Nike — saw a sale today on the shoe giant’s stock. And this comes after a month where Nike’s almost down as much as NVIDIA. Crazy world right now, ain’t it?

One thing to keep an eye on, as more quarterly earnings reports begin to stream in over the coming weeks, is this Nike example: Is beating on both earnings and sales not enough to keep your stock from getting clobbered the next day? Does everyone need good guidance, too? If so, expect a long earnings season — analysts are already waiting for any number of companies to announce a slowing in their businesses due to tighter Fed policy, energy costs, etc.

We’ve been of the belief for some time that the markets are pricing in a recession; perhaps now they’re pricing in a disappointing earnings season, as well? That would raise the question: Have we really seen the lows to this cycle so far, or are things like a sub-30K Dow back on the table in our near future? Dang, how’d this day end up so crummy?

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