Wall Street lost ground on Tuesday as investors looked past lower-than-expected inflation data, focusing instead on economic uncertainties and growing chances of a corporate tax rate hike.
All three major U.S. indexes initially bumped higher following the Labor Department’s consumer price index report, but optimism quickly faded and they turned negative in a reminder that September is a historically rough month for stocks.
Dropping yields for benchmark U.S. Treasuries pressured financial stocks and investor favor pivoted back to growth at the expense of value.
“We’re in a seesaw market,” said Greg Bassuk, chief executive at AXS Investments in Port Chester, New York. “Until there is more consistency in the trajectory of economic recovery, the double rotation trades we’re seeing right now will continue.”
The advent of the highly contagious Delta COVID variant has driven an increase in bearish sentiment regarding the recovery from the global health crisis, and many now expect a substantial correction in stock markets by the end of the year.
“Investors are still cautious,” Bassuk added. “Besides the economic data, they care about the continued spread with delta variants, uncertainty with the Fed, as well as geopolitical concerns.”
The CPI report delivered a lower-than-consensus August reading, a deceleration that supports Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell’s assertion that spiking inflation is transitory and calms market fears that the central bank will begin tightening monetary policy sooner than expected.