Stocks Fall as Fear of Recession Weighs on Investors, Dow Snaps Four-Day Win Streak: Live Updates

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange during morning trading on April 10, 2023 in New York City. 
Michael M. Santiago | Getty Images
Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange during morning trading on April 10, 2023 in New York City. 

Stocks fell Wednesday as recession concerns weighed on Wall Street, even as traders assessed the release of cooler-than-expected inflation data.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average shed 38.29 points, or 0.11%, to 33,646.50. Earlier in the day, the index was up by more than 200 points. The S&P 500 declined 0.41% to 4,091.95. Meanwhile, the Nasdaq Composite fell by 0.85% to 11,929.34.

Those moves come after minutes from the Federal Reserve's March policy meeting showed officials feared the economy could tilt into a mild recession later this year in the wake of the U.S. banking crisis.

"Given their assessment of the potential economic effects of the recent banking-sector developments, the staff's projection at the time of the March meeting included a mild recession starting later this year, with a recovery over the subsequent two years," read the meeting summary on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, in an interview with CNBC's "Squawk on the Street," Richmond Federal Reserve President Thomas Barkin said that, while peak inflation may be behind the U.S., "we still have a ways to go."

Recession concerns continued to weigh on investors even as the March consumer price index came in cooler than expected, showing a rise of 0.1%. Economists polled by Dow Jones were expecting CPI to rise by 0.2% month over month.

"It is encouraging because it shows the direction is the way the Fed wants it to go, but I don't think it's enough to cause the Fed to stop raising rates," said CFRA's Sam Stovall.

Later in the week, the health of the U.S. economy and consumer will be put to the test as first-quarter earnings season kicks into full gear. Banking behemoths JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo and Citigroup are on deck, as well as health-care giant UnitedHealth.

Stocks close lower Wednesday

The Dow Jones Industrial Average shed 38.29 points, or 0.11%, to 33,646.50. Earlier in the day, the index was up by more than 200 points.

The S&P 500 declined 0.41% to 4,091.95. Meanwhile, the Nasdaq Composite fell by 0.85% to 11,929.34.

— Sarah Min

Raymond James Investment Management: We're in the 'latter stages' of bear market

While the bear market persists, the end could be near, according to Michael Gibbs of Raymond James Investment Management.

The market is "shifting narrative after narrative," he wrote in a note. This "can be confusing, but [it's] all part of the bottoming process as we believe we are in the latter stages of this bear market, but in the near-term, the S&P 500 likely stays range bound between 3500-4100."

The S&P 500 fell slightly Wednesday as traders pored over the latest U.S. inflation data.

— Fred Imbert

CNBC Pro: Top economist Ed Hyman says the Fed should pause since U.S. is probably already headed for a hard landing

The Federal Reserve should halt its interest rate hiking campaign because the U.S. economy is already poised for a recession, said economist Ed Hyman, chairman of Evercore ISI.

Hyman said on CNBC's "Squawk on the Street" that he was in the "recession camp," but did not expect a sharp downturn. Hyman, who has been ranked the No. 1 Wall Street economist for more than four decades by Institutional Investor, said the Fed may not need to cut interest rates just yet, but should at least not implement another rate hike at the next meeting in early May.

"Words are important," Hyman said. "Soft landing? I don't think so. Hard landing? Probably. Severe recession? No, I don't think so."

"You need to take a step at a time," he added. "I feel confident that the Fed should pause and then see what happens."

CNBC Pro subscribers can read the full story here.

— Alex Harring

Confluent shares jump more than 6% on Morgan Stanley upgrade

Morgan Stanley analyst Sanjit K. Singh upgraded Confluent to overweight from equal weight on Wednesday. Singh believes the software company stands to emerge as a leader in cloud optimization—a field he said constitutes a $173 billion investment opportunity. 

"We upgrade CFLT to OW given attractive valuation, a major pivot to profitability and a large growth opportunity that remains intact," Singh wrote in the note. "As CFLT shares have re-rated lower in recent months, we are starting to see several proof points that 2023/2024 estimates may be more achievable and see upside as headwinds from cloud optimization efforts subside heading into 2024."

The firm raised its price target by a dollar to $30, suggesting the stock stands to gain 28.4% since Tuesday's closing price. Shares of Confluent were up more than 6% in early afternoon trading, and the stock has gained about 17.3% so far this year. 

With cloud technology, Singh expects Confluent to unlock three capabilities: helping organizations achieve real-time business operations, allowing customers to build a wide range of new business applications such as real-time inventory management or fraud detection services, and supporting many business analytics use cases, such as including real-time analytics on streaming data. The firm added that Confluent has a renewed commitment to better operational efficiency and recording a profit by the fourth quarter. 

– Pia Singh

Globant rises 2% after Needham says stock could rally

Technology services company Globant rose 2% after Needham said the company is a leading services provider with strong room to grow — making it worth its relatively high valuation.

Analyst Mayank Tandon initiated coverage of the stock at a buy rating. He set a price target of $205 for the stock, which implies an upside of 30.6% over where it ended Tuesday's session.

"We believe that GLOB's focus on high-end digital services should allow it to generate best-in-breed organic growth while maintaining an attractive margin profile, which in turn supports its premium valuation to the broader group," Tandon said in a note to clients Wednesday.

Tandon said the company has a diverse revenue base and deep expertise that can provide a "competitive advantage." The company also has a strong balance sheet and risk-reward ratio, he said.

Despite Wednesday's performance, the stock has slipped almost 5% since the start of the year, underperforming the broader market. The stock tumbled 46.5% in 2022.

— Alex Harring

BlackRock's Fink warns of 'stickier inflation'

BlackRock CEO Larry Fink, speaking at an event for the Center on Global Energy Policy at Columbia, said that he expects to see "stickier inflation for longer."

"I don't see how we get below 4% inflation any time soon, which in my mind will probably lead to more tightening by the Federal Reserve and other central banks," Fink said.

He pointed out that investment from governments in areas like green energy and semiconductors was working in the opposite direction of rate hikes from central banks.

— Jesse Pound

Consumer spending takes a hit in March, BofA credit card data shows

Bank of America said credit card spending continued to moderate in March. It saw a 0.1% increase from last year, or the weakest year-over-year growth since February 2021. It is attributing the slowdown to softer wage growth and a decline in tax refunds. It also anticipates that the anticipated rolloff of pandemic programs, like supplemental SNAP benefits is also a factor.

According to Bank of America, tax refunds are tracking 10% lower than in 2022, while after-tax wages have slipped 2% from a year ago.

"The good news is that consumers still have financial buffers as suggested by lower credit card utilization rates compared to 2019. However, signs of a cooling labor market and a sustained deceleration in wages could tilt the risks to the downside," it wrote in a research note.

—Christina Cheddar Berk

Peloton's holiday boost is fading, Morgan Stanley says

Peloton saw a boost from promotions during the holidays, but that lift has faded, according to Morgan Stanley. Analyst Lauren Schenk scanned Similarweb data and found that Peloton's web traffic was down 27% year-over-year in its fiscal third quarter. Although she expects the company to top management's conservative forecast, based on that metric, she thinks investors will be disappointed with the company's results.

"We believe PTON is faced with a difficult choice: it can either pursue growth at structurally lower profitability or accept continued revenue declines in the medium-term, but at more sustainable unit economics. While neither of these scenarios are ideal, it is increasingly unclear where new, highly profitable demand could come from," Schenk wrote in a research note.

Peloton shares have gained nearly 30% since the start of the year, but the stock is still down more than 56% over the past year.

— Christina Cheddar Berk

Organic sales growth for French luxury goods firm LVMH jumps on 'significant rebound' in Asia

French luxury goods firm LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton saw organic sales growth of 17% in its first quarter from the year-ago period, following a "significant rebound" from Asia after the lifting of Covid restrictions. That's better than the 10% organic sales growth forecasted by analysts surveyed by StreetAccount.

"LVMH had an excellent start to the year, within a geopolitical and economic environment which remains uncertain," read a Wednesday release.

U.S. listed shares of the firm rose more than 3% during Wednesday trading.

— Sarah Min

American Airlines headlines list of midday movers

Shares of American Airlines were down more than 8% in midday trading after the company released updated guidance for the first quarter that came in below the earnings estimates from some analysts.

American said it expected adjusted earnings per share of 1 cent to 5 cents for the quarter,. That is above prior guidance of breakeven, but the average analyst projection was for 5 cents, according to StreetAccount. 

Other airline stocks were also under pressure, with United shedding more than 5%.

Other notable movers on Wednesday include MongoDB and Shopify. Read the full list here.

— Jesse Pound

Six S&P 500 sectors are trading in positive territory

Six out of 11 sectors in the S&P 500 were trading in positive territory during midday trading, with the real estate, industrials and health care stocks leading the gains. The real estate sector is up 0.6%, and industrials is up more than 0.4%. Health care stocks were higher by about 0.4%.

Meanwhile, consumer discretionary and communication services were the laggards in the broader index, with the sectors down 0.9% and 0.3%, respectively.

— Sarah Min

Fed's Barkin says there's still 'a ways to go' on inflation

In an interview with CNBC's "Squawk on the Street," Richmond Federal Reserve President Thomas Barkin said that, while peak inflation may be behind the U.S., "we still have a ways to go."

He pointed to still-elevated inflation in shelter and services. "If you want to get to 2% [inflation], I think we're still a ways from there."

— Fred Imbert

Stocks give up early gains

Stocks pulled off their highs of the day as investors continued to worry about inflation.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average was last down about 30 points, or 0.09%. Earlier in the day, it was up more than 200 points, or higher by 0.6%.

The S&P 500 dipped 0.2%, and the Nasdaq Composite slid 0.5%.

— Sarah Min

JMP upgrades Shopify shares to outperform

JPM analyst Andrew Boone upgraded Shopify shares to market outperform from market perform. The analyst believes the company has big upside potential as it gains traction with larger enterprise businesses.

"After analyzing the OpEx structure across the website builders, assessing third-party website traffic data, and speaking to professional website developers across these platforms, we are reaffirming our view that Shopify is the leader in commerce enablement and continues to take share," Boone wrote in a Wednesday note to clients. 

Shares of Shopify were up 6.5% Wednesday morning following the upgrade.

CNBC Pro subscribers can read more about his upgrade here.

— Hakyung Kim

Cloud stocks are on pace for best day of the month

Cloud stocks are up 2% Wednesday and headed for their best day of the month. That goes back to March 31 when the WisdomTree Cloud Computing Fund added 4.1%.

The fund was bolstered by shares of MongoDB, Shopify and Confluent, which all rose more than 6%. MongoDB was upgraded to overweight from equal-weight by Morgan Stanley. Shopify was raised to market outperform from market perform by JMP Securities. Confluent was raised to overweight from equal weight by Morgan Stanley.

— Sarah Min, Gina Francolla

Stocks open higher after CPI

Stocks rose at Wednesday's open, as traders digested the latest U.S. consumer price index data.

The Dow gained more than 100 points, while the S&P 500 and Nasdaq gained 0.5% and 0.8%, respectively.

— Fred Imbert

Morgan Stanley upgrades MongoDB shares

Morgan Stanley thinks it's time to get back on board the MongoDB train, saying it sees a "pivot to profitability" for the company.

The firm moved to the sidelines on the company in November due to macro uncertainty, while noting at the time that it was willing to get bullish on the stock in the future due to its positive view on MongoDB's competitive positioning and growth forecasts. Morgan Stanley now believes that many of its prior concerns have been addressed by the company and is now "getting back on board a secular beneficiary." 

Analyst Sanjit K Singh upgraded the cloud database stock to overweight from equal-weight. He also increased his price target to $270 per share from $230 per share, implying upside of 27.6% from Tuesday's closing price.

Shares were up 3% Wednesday before the bell. CNBC Pro subscribers can read more about the upgrade here.

— Hakyung Kim

Warren Buffett says he could not run the Federal Reserve as well as Jerome Powell

Berkshire Hathaway Chairman and CEO Warren Buffett said he doesn't think he could run the Federal Reserve as well as Jerome Powell. The central bank leader's aggressive rate hiking campaign has attracted criticism from those who say Powell waited too long to target rising inflation.

"You have to act on insufficient information, and you've got an ultimate responsibility to the American public," Buffett told CNBC's Becky Quick Wednesday on CNBC's "Squawk Box."

"It doesn't mean you can stop recessions, it doesn't mean that you can turn bad loans into good loans or anything else. But it does mean that you've got to keep the system working. And the system came close to stopping," he added.

He added, "Thank heavens, you know, Jay Powell was there" in March 2020.

— Sarah Min, Alex Harring

Futures push higher after cool CPI report

Stock futures jumped after the March CPI report came in cooler than expected. Dow futures are now up more than 200 points, while Nasdaq 100 futures are up about 1%.

— Jesse Pound

Stocks making the biggest moves premarket

Check out the companies making headlines before the bell on Wednesday:

  • Shopify — Shares of the e-commerce company gained 2.4% after JMP upgraded Shopify to market outperform from market perform. The firm assigned the company a price target of $65 per share, implying a 45.1% upside from Tuesday's close. 
  • Triton International, Brookfield Infrastructure — Triton's shares soared by more than 28% in early morning trading on news the company will be acquired by Brookfield Infrastructure. Triton shareholders will receive consideration valued at $85 per share in cash and stock. Brookfield's stock price gained 2.15% on the announcement. 
  • MongoDB — The software company's stock price rose 2.8% in premarket trading after Morgan Stanley upgraded MongoDB to overweight from equal weight, citing the company's leadership in cloud optimization initiatives. The firm raised its price target to $270, which suggests shares could gain 27.6% from Tuesday's close.

Read here to see which other companies are making moves before the open.

— Pia Singh

Triton jumps 30% after announcing takeover deal

Shares of shipping container company Triton International jumped 30% in premarket trading after announcing a deal to be acquired by Brookfield Infrastructure Partners in a take-private transaction.

The deal will value Triton's equity at more than $4 billion, with an enterprise value of $13.3 billion.

Brookfield's move to buy Triton comes after a weak year for mergers and acquisitions in 2022. There are signs that the market could rebound this year, including a Wall Street Journal report that Exxon Mobil is exploring acquisition targets.

— Jesse Pound

Bernstein names Hyatt a top pick

Bernstein analyst Richard J. Clarke named Hyatt Hotels a top pick for 2023, citing the company's strength in the luxury category.

"Hyatt is the most skewed towards luxury in major hotel groups (1/3 rooms, 1/2 revenue), luxury occupancy has lagged other chain scales but is exhibiting the most pricing power, and will see the most recovery this year as international travel normalizes, especially from Asia," Clarke wrote in a Tuesday note.

The stock is already off to a good start this year, climbing nearly 23% to about $111 per share. Bernstein's price target of $135 suggests the stock could see a similar gain going forward.

— Jesse Pound, Hakyung Kim

Eagerness ahead of this CPI report is 'less than has been,' Vital Knowledge says

Adam Crisafulli of Vital Knowledge noted that "there doesn't seem to be a ton of anticipation for the CPI on Wed (obviously people care about this number, but the eagerness is less than has been the case in prior months)."

"A big disconnect is expected to emerge in Mar (and continue going forward) between the headline reading (which the St sees falling 90bp M/M to +5.1%) and core (which matters a lot more and where economists are modeling a 10bp M/M increase to +5.6%)," he added. "A core number of 5.5% or less would be looked on favorably by stocks."

Economists polled by Dow Jones expect a 0.2% increase in the consumer price index for March.

— Fred Imbert, Michael Bloom

UBS says it's time to buy Goldman Sachs

Analyst Brennan Hawken upgraded shares to buy from neutral, noting that recent market uncertainty presents a tailwind for Goldman Sachs shares going forward.

"The firm also has an opportunity to accelerate the growth of their [asset and wealth management] platform and their transactional banking business through attractively priced M&A, especially if stress in the banking system presents further inorganic opportunities," said Hawken. 

CNBC Pro subscribers can read more here.

— Hakyung Kim

CNBC Pro: These 7 global stocks are bucking the bearish trend, with analysts hiking price targets

Investors are bracing for a potentially rocky ride as the corporate earnings season kicks off this week.

Analyst estimates point toward a 6.8% decline in first-quarter earnings compared with the same period last year – which would be the biggest fall since the second quarter of 2020.

Despite this gloomy outlook, there are a handful of stocks that appear to be bucking the bearish trend. CNBC Pro found the following seven stocks that appear to be going against the grain.

CNBC Pro subscribers can read more here.

— Ganesh Rao

CNBC Pro: Citi just named 4 new picks, including a Buffett-backed stock it says could soar 70%

Citi just added four names to its recommended stock lists amid the market volatility.

The Wall Street bank gave 70% upside to one of the companies — which is also backed by Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway.

CNBC Pro subscribers can read more here.

— Weizhen Tan

European stock markets open mixed

European markets opened mixed Wednesday as investors await key inflation data from the U.S. set for release later in the day.

The pan-European Stoxx 600 index moved between marginal gains and losses at the start of the trading day, with sectors and major bourses spread across negative and positive territory. Construction stocks were up 0.6%, while mining stocks dropped 1% after closing higher Tuesday.

— Hannah Ward-Glenton

European markets: Here are the opening calls

European stock markets are expected to open mixed Wednesday.

Britain's FTSE 100 is seen around 2 points lower at 7.780.2, Germany's DAX is set to jump by 7.5 points to 15,661.4 and France's CAC 40 is expected to drop 0.4 points to 7,394.8.

— Hannah Ward-Glenton

Fed's Kashkari sees U.S. inflation to be closer to 2% next year

Minneapolis Fed President Neel Kashkari said he believes inflation in the U.S. economy will near the central bank's target of 2% in 2024.

Speaking at a town hall in Montana State University, he added that he's "less optimistic" than the bond market, which are pricing in a recession soon to come in the U.S., and that markets were also seeing a faster decline in inflation than his expectations.

He also highlighted he expects inflation to come down to "the mid threes" by the end of 2023.

The U.S. consumer price index rose 6% year-on-year in February, in line with expectations. The March inflation report is slated for release overnight.

— Jihye Lee

IMF advises Bank of Japan to have flexibility on yield curve control

The International Monetary Fund advised in its latest financial stability report said Japan's central bank should have more flexibility in its scheme to maintain the yield on its 10-year Japanese government bonds around 0%.

"While allowing more flexibility in the yield curve control policy could have some repercussions in global financial markets, such a change not only is warranted to meet monetary policy objectives but could also help prevent abrupt policy changes later that could trigger larger spillovers," the IMF said.

The international organization added that changes to the current monetary policy could have a wide range of repercussions.

"Changes to the Bank of Japan's yield curve control framework may affect international financial markets through three channels: exchange rates, term premiums on sovereign bonds, and global risk premiums," said the IMF in the report.

The yield on the 10-year JGB on Wednesday was at 0.466%, hovering around the yield curve control's upper ceiling limit of 0.5%.

— Jihye Lee

Japan trading houses rise for a second trading day on Buffett's stake

Trading houses in Japan continued to see gains in Wednesday's afternoon session after Warren Buffett said that he's raised Berkshire Hathaway's stakes in all five trading houses to 7.4%, he told CNBC's Becky Quick

Shares of Mitsubishi Corp. rose 2.04% in Japan's afternoon trade, Mitsui & Co. gained 2.54%, Itochu Corp climbed 1.95% and Marubeni Corp. advanced 2.73%. 

Sumitomo Corp. also rose 2.82%.

— Jihye Lee

Earnings season could 'clarify' market trajectory, says LPL Financial's Krosby

This earnings season could playing a pivotal role in helping to "clarify the path" ahead for financial markets, according to Quincy Krosby, LPL Financial's chief global strategist.

Corporate earnings kicks into full gear this week with reports from major banking giants. The commentary and results should offer further insight into the state of the economy and whether a recession is on the horizon.

Investor attention remains laser-focused on whether corporate America "finds itself under pressure to the point that earnings suffer along with guidance, and that margin pressure compels them to cut costs, including layoffs," Krosby wrote.

This time around, she said, Wall Street will be closely watching whether cyclical or defensive stocks lead the market higher from here. Earnings are also expected to decline before inching up in the second and third quarters, she added.

"The hope is that as markets get through the earnings season and digest guidance, and the possibility of another Fed rate hike in early May, that the bond market and equity markets will adjust and emerge more in sync," she said. "Until then, the messages are seemingly disparate and confusing."

— Samantha Subin

The banking industry is still vulnerable as the central bank has raised interest rates too quickly, Thomas Hoenig says

The banking industry is still in a fragile state as the Federal Reserve continues to hike benchmark interest rates, according to former Kansas City Fed chief Thomas Hoenig.

"We're still concerned — they should be at least — about the condition of the banking industry overall," Hoenig said on CNBC's "Closing Bell." "And you don't want to make that part of the industry even more vulnerable by raising rates unless you absolutely have to."

Despite the difficulty of adding to more turmoil by raising rates further, the central bank would also be acting prematurely by turning dovish, Hoenig added.

"Pivoting now would be way too soon," he said.

— Brian Evans

Stock futures open flat

Stock futures opened flat ahead of the release of March's consumer price index.

Futures tied to the Dow Jones Industrial Average inched 19 points higher, or 0.06%, while S&P 500 and Nasdaq 100 futures traded flat.

— Samantha Subin

Copyright CNBC
Contact Us