Russia-Ukraine Tension Continues; Meta Down 40% YTD; Nvidia, Tesla Continue to Drop

Stocks waver, heading for another down week as 2022 woes endure

U.S. stocks are set to close another week lower on geopolitical and interest rate uncertainties as 2022 continues its stumble out of the gate. Big names in tech have taken some of the sharpest dives this year, with Nvidia (NVDA) down over 20% and Meta (FB) dropping 38% in the first seven weeks of 2022.

Key Takeaways

  • U.S. stocks are mixed this morning and set to close another week lower on geopolitical and interest rate uncertainties.
  • The Dow Jones has lost 5.6% in 2022 as of yesterday's close.
  • Roku and Intel both fell on outlook concerns.

Major U.S. equity market indexes posted their worst losses for the year yesterday on growing tensions between Russia and Ukraine. U.S. President Biden is set to meet with NATO leaders today to discuss the situation.

Investors moved to defensive sectors and safe havens such as bonds and gold yesterday as tensions flared. Concerns over the Federal Reserve’s plans to raise interest rates also weighed on the markets, as well as corporate earnings.

Markets are on track for the second negative week in a row, as traders head into a three-day weekend, with markets closed on Monday for the Presidents Day holiday. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell below 2% as investors bought bonds amid concerns about a possible Russian invasion of Ukraine.  

Later this morning, the National Association of Realtors is expected to report U.S. existing home sales softened further in January, after unexpectedly dropping in December. Economists anticipate sales dipped 1% in January after a decline of 4.6% in the previous month. The Conference Board will also release its Leading Economic Index for January. Economists forecast a 1% monthly increase, following a 0.8% gain in December.

housing

 Oil prices are heading for the first weekly decline in nine weeks amid reports of a deal taking shape to revive Iran’s 2015 nuclear agreement that could bring about a million barrels a day of Iranian oil back to the market. Light sweet crude is now below $90 a barrel. The euro is lower against the dollar and cryptocurrencies are declining.

Quick Hits: Today's Headlines

Shares of Roku Inc. (ROKU) are sinking after missing fourth quarter revenue expectations and offering a downbeat forecast for the current quarter. Roku blamed slower growth on supply shortages that hurt the U.S. market for TVs. 

Brazilian meatpacking company JBS is dropping its deal to buy the rest of poultry company Pilgrim’s Pride Corp. Pilgrim's Pride shares fell 11%. JBS already owns about 80% of Pilgrim’s Pride and said it was unable to reach an agreement over the terms of the deal. 

Intel Corp.’s (INTC) CEO said the company expects to reach double-digit growth in three to four years. CEO Pat Gelsinger detailed turnaround plans for the computer chip maker. The company also expects modest revenue growth for the next year, sending shares lower.

A group representing U.S. publishers wrote to leaders of the Senate Judiciary Committee to back two bills targeting Big Tech, including one that would open up smartphone app stores to more competition. The group, Digital Content Next, wrote to lawmakers backing a bill aimed at reining in app stores owned by Apple Inc. (AAPL) and Alphabet's Inc.'s Google (GOOG). 

E-commerce sites operated by China's Tencent Holdings Ltd. and Alibaba Group Holdings Ltd. (BABA) were included on the U.S. government's latest "notorious markets" list of companies that allegedly sell counterfeit goods. The list identifies 42 online markets and 35 physical markets that are reported to engage in substantial trademark counterfeiting or copyright piracy.

Tesla and CEO Elon Musk accused the SEC of harassment, citing its "endless" and "unrelenting" investigation to punish Musk for being an outspoken critic of the government. The accusation came in a letter to a U.S. District Judge who presided over a 2018 SEC settlement stemming from Musk's tweet about a potential buyout of Tesla and complained the SEC has not distributed a $40 million fine tied to the settlement. 

Separately, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said it is opening a formal investigation into 416,000 Tesla vehicles, over reports of unexpected “phantom” braking. This is the latest probe tied to Tesla’s driver assistance system. 

The Big Story: Ford Dethrones Tesla

The Ford Motor Co. (F) Mustang Mach-E ousted Tesla Inc.’s (TSLA) Model 3 as Consumer Reports’ top pick among electric vehicles. Shares of Tesla are falling today, and down 28% on the year.

Consumer Reports bases its picks on factors like a road-test score, predicted reliability, owner satisfaction, and safety. The Model 3 had held the top position for the past two years.

Consumer Reports said the Mustang Mach-E is quieter, and rides better than the Model 3, with an infotainment system that is “far easier” to use. The Mach-E also had an edge on reliability, according to a Consumer Reports survey of owners. 

Overall, Tesla fell seven spots to 23rd place in Consumer Reports ranking of 32 major auto brands. The top brands have been dominated by Japanese automakers. Subaru received top ratings, followed by Mazda, BMW, Honda, and Lexus. At the bottom of the list this year were Mitsubishi, GMC, and Jeep.