Stocks mixed following Fed comments

US stocks are trading mixed on Thursday after details from last month’s Federal Reserve meeting showed that the central bank plans to be aggressive in fighting inflation.

The Dow Jones slipped 95 points to 34,401.53, while the S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite are up 0.08% and 0.23%, respectively.

Ticker Security Cargo Change Change%
I: DJI DOW JONES AVERAGES 34264.05 -232.46 -0.67%
SP500 S&P 500 4466.68 -14.47 -0.32%
I: COMP NASDAQ COMPOSITE INDEX 13838.357817 -50.46 -0.36%

Policymakers at the central bank signaled that surging inflation and an incredibly tight labor market could warrant a half-point interest rate hike at future meetings. The minutes also reaffirmed Fed Governor Lael Brainard’s remarks on Tuesday that the central bank could start reducing the balance sheet as early as May.


The Fed comments have added to investor unease over the war in Ukraine, coronavirus outbreaks in China and persistent high inflation. Following the release of the Fed minutes, the 10-year Treasury yield has spiked above 2.6%.

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York City, US, April 6, 2022. (REUTERS / Brendan McDermid / Reuters Photos)

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has added to those worries, pushing energy and commodity prices higher. Oil is trading at nearly $ 100 per barrel.


On the economic front, 166,000 Americans filed for unemployment benefits last week, well below analysts’ expectations of 200,000. Continuing claims, which track the total number of unemployed workers collecting benefits, rose more than expected to 1,523 million, up from a revised 1,506 million.


In stocks, HP Inc. gained 16% after Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway disclosed a purchase of nearly 121 million of the company’s shares, or a roughly 11.4% stake.

Ticker Security Cargo Change Change%
HPQ HP INC. 41.08 +6.17 + 17.67%

Conagra Brands is little changed after giving profit guidance below Wall Street expectations. Net income for the company’s fiscal third quarter totaled $ 218.4 million, or 45 cents per share, down from $ 281.4 million, or 58 cents per share, last year. Adjusted earnings per share came in at 58 cents and revenue came in at $ 2.914 billion.

“We experienced higher-than-expected cost pressures as the third quarter progressed and expect those pressures to continue into the fourth quarter, particularly in certain frozen, refrigerated, and snack businesses,” Conagra Brands CEO Sean Connolly said in a statement. “In response, we have taken steps to implement additional inflation-driven pricing actions. We will begin to see the benefits of these actions in the first quarter of fiscal 2023.”

For the fourth quarter, Conagra anticipates net sales growth of 7% and adjusted earnings per share of 64 cents. For the full year, it expects net sales growth of 4% and adjusted EPS of $ 2.35.

Ticker Security Cargo Change Change%
CAG CONAGRA BRANDS INC. 34.50 +0.16 + 0.47%

Levi Strauss slipped 3% despite the apparel maker reporting an adjusted quarterly profit of 46 cents per share, beating Wall Street expectations.

Ticker Security Cargo Change Change%
LEVI LEVI STRAUSS & CO. 18.64 -0.78 -3.99%

Rite Aid stock tumbled 21% after being downgraded from “hold” to “sell” by Deutsche Bank. Analyst George Hill cut the bank’s price target for the pharmacy retail chain from $ 16 to $ 1. Hill emphasized that the company would need to generate about $ 400 million to $ 450 million in annual adjusted EBITDA to continue as an operating company.

“At a number below $ 400 million, the equity arguably has no value as the company is not in a position to generate real returns to shareholders,” Hill wrote in a note to clients. “Unfortunately, we believe COVID has hastened the decline of the retail pharmacy segment and we see the potential for a dramatic negative inflection point for [Rite Aid] shares as this preliminary F2023 outlook seems to be unattainable. “

Ticker Security Cargo Change Change%
ADVICE RITE AID CORP. 6.16 -2.28 -27.03%

Rent the Runway is down 2% after the fashion rental company said it would increase prices on its popular eight-item plan to $ 144 per month from $ 134 and to $ 235 from $ 195 a month for its 16-item plan due to inflation.

Ticker Security Cargo Change Change%
RENT RENT THE RUNWAY INC. 5.41 -0.27 -4.77%


In Asia, Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 index lost 1.7%, the Hang Seng in Hong Kong lost 1.2% and China’s Shanghai Composite index shed 1.4%.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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