Surprise Gain in Job Openings, 5-Month High in Crude Oil Prices Sap Risk Appetite for US Equities — TradingView News

US equity indexes slumped Tuesday afternoon as a surprise uptick in job openings and crude oil prices hitting a five-month high pushed government bond yields higher.

The S&P 500 dropped 0.9% to 5,197.2, with the Nasdaq Composite down 1.1% to 16,217.3 and the Dow Jones Industrial Average 1.2% lower at 39,094.6. Except for energy and utilities, all the other sectors declined intraday. Health care, consumer discretionary, and technology were among the steepest decliners.

In economic news, US job openings rose to 8.756 million in February, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, above the 8.73 million openings expected in a survey compiled by Bloomberg and up from the 8.748 million openings reported in January.

New orders for US factory goods gained 1.4% in February, above expectations for a 1% increase in a survey compiled by Bloomberg and following a revised 3.8% drop in January.

West Texas Intermediate crude oil jumped 1.3% to $84.81 a barrel, the highest since the end of October.

The gain comes as supply remains squeezed as OPEC+ continues its voluntary daily cuts of 2.2 million barrels. The cartel will likely meet on Wednesday, with no policy changes expected before a ministerial meeting in June. Geopolitical risks are buoying prices after Israel on Monday attacked an Iranian consulate in Syria.

The US Treasury 10-year yield rose 5 basis points to 4.37%, as did most other Treasury yields.

Apart from Monday’s unexpected strength in the ISM manufacturing report boosting Treasury yields, “investors appear to be responding to increased uncertainty in the energy market, potentially causing an additional inflationary hiccup for the Federal Reserve,” a research note from Stifel said. “As a result, yields are pushing higher.”

The probability the Fed will begin easing in June stood at 56% as of Tuesday afternoon versus 64% a week ago, according to the CME Group’s FedWatch tool.

In company news, Humana HUM slumped more than 14% intraday, UnitedHealth Group UNH dropped 8%, and CVS Health CVS slid 8.4% following the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ declaration of a 3.7% average revenue boost for Medicare Advantage plans in 2025. Humana and CVS were the two worst-performing stocks in the S&P 500. UnitedHealth was the laggard on the Dow.

Meanwhile, General Electric GE said it completed the separation of its renewable energy business, GE Vernova GGEV, marking the end of a multi-year transformation of the conglomerate. Shares of GE Vernova rose 5.4% intraday, the leader on the S&P 500.

Gold was up 1% to $2,280.3 per troy ounce, heading for its sixth session of gains. Silver was up 3.3% to $25.92.

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