Stocks edge higher after sharp sell-off | February 22, 2023

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U.S. stocks rose modestly early Wednesday following a broad-based sell-off to start the short week as investors await a readout of the Federal Reserve's latest meeting minutes due out in the afternoon.

The S&P 500 (^GSPC) teetered up 0.1%, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average (^DJI) added about 50 points, or 0.2%. The technology-heavy Nasdaq Composite (^IXIC) gained 0.4%.

Coinbase (COIN) was among morning movers, rising 3.5% after the cryptocurrency exchange reported fourth-quarter results that beat Wall Street estimates and losses for the full year that were narrower than feared.

Elsewhere in specific names, Palo Alto Networks' (PANW) stock jumped nearly 12% after the cybersecurity firm raised its annual profit outlook and said it was working on managing costs.

Chinese search engine Baidu (BIDU) reported better-than-expected fourth quarter results, boosted by strength in its cloud, advertising and artificial intelligence segments. Shares climbed 6%.

Meme stock darling AMC Entertainment (AMC) was on watch after the Allegheny County Employees’ Retirement System filed a class action lawsuit in Delaware alleging the movie theater company created preferred shares without their permission. The stock rose about 3.7% Wednesday morning.

In the bond market, Treasury yields were steady early into the day after rising sharply Tuesday to the highest levels since November.

The moves follow a steep sell-off Tuesday that saw the S&P 500 nosedive 2% below 4,000, the Dow wipe out 700 points and the Nasdaq plunge 2.5% — the moves coming as investors adjust their expectations to higher interest rates for longer.

St. Louis Fed President James Bullard in a televised interview with CNBC Wednesday morning said the U.S. central bank must bring the federal funds rate to a range of 5.25% to 5.5% in order to bring inflation back down to its 2% target.

New York Fed President John Williams is also slated to speak later in the day. In a speech earlier this month, he asserted that Fed officials plan to stay the course on their rate-hiking campaign until inflation falls down to their 2% target.

Minutes from the Federal Open Market Committee's (FOMC) meeting Jan. 31-Feb. 1 will offer insight into the thinking behind officials' 25-basis-point interest rate increase earlier in the month. Cleveland Fed President Loretta Mester admitted in a speech last week she would have favored raising interest rates by 0.50% but officials did not want to surprise the markets, which were pricing in 25 basis points.

"While the stock market has staged an impressive rebound so far this year, markets are still trying to adjust to the reality that the Federal Reserve is unlikely to pivot and is instead still focused on fighting inflation, which suggests that investors should be prepared for interest rates to stay higher for longer," Carol Schleif, chief investment officer of BMO Family Office said in a note.

"Wednesday's FOMC minutes report is bound to reveal a closer look into the Fed's thinking, especially given the recently released inflation and jobs numbers, which are still elevated and illustrative of a hot economy."

Wall Street banks have revised their expectations for upcoming rate hikes by the Federal Reserve.

Teams at Goldman Sachs and Bank of America said last week they estimate three more rate increases this year. Ahead of February's interest rate increase, some market participants had seen that move potentially marking the end of the Fed's rate hiking cycle.

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