Skip to main content

Stock Market Today - 5/16: Stocks End Mixed, Treasury Yields Rally Amid Recession Concerns

“If I were running a big company, I would be very prepared for (recession). If I was a consumer, I’d be prepared for it,” said former Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein.

Updated at 4:10 pm EST

Stocks finished mixed Monday, while Treasury bonds yields eased and the dollar fell from a two-decade high against its global peers, as stocks failed to extend the momentum from Friday's late-session rally into a new trading week.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished up 26 points, or 0.08%, to 32,223, while the S&P 500, which is down 15.6% for the year, lost 0.39%. The tech-focused Nasdaq retreated 1.2%.

Investors continued to worry that the twin impact of surging inflation and aggressive central bank rate hikes will collectively blunt growth both in the U.S. and elsewhere, while China's 'Zero Covid' health policies are already threatening recession in the world's second largest economy.

Official data from Beijing today, in fact, revealed an 11.1% slump in April retail sales as well as a near 3% pullback in industrial output as lockdowns hammered demand and shuttered factories up and down the country.

Here in the U.S., the weakest reading for consumer confidence in more than a decade, record high gasoline prices and surging food bills are combing to blunt spending and slow growth, with former Goldman Sachs Group  (GS) - Get Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (The) Report CEO Lloyd Blankfein warning Sunday on CBS's 'Face the Nation' that “If I were running a big company, I would be very prepared for it ... if I was a consumer, I’d be prepared for it.”

The strength of the U.S. consumer will be in focus on Wall Street this week amid a host of data releases and corporate earnings focused on the biggest and most important sub-section of the U.S. economy.

Tuesday's April retail sales data release will provide perhaps the starkest assessment to data on the impact of surging inflation and record high gas prices on the domestic consumer, with economists looking for a notable slowdown in core sales with a bump higher in the headline reading thanks to the higher dollar value of gasoline sales.

Scroll to Continue

TheStreet Recommends

Retail bellwethers Walmart  (WMT) - Get Walmart Inc. Report, Home Depot  (HD) - Get Home Depot Inc. (The) Report, Target  (TGT) - Get Target Corporation Report and Lowe's Companies  (LOW) - Get Lowe's Companies Inc. Report will also publish March quarter earnings this week as the first quarter reporting season rounds to a close with collective S&P 500 profits expected to rise 11.1% from last year to $407.5 billion.

The Fed's inflation fight, however, could offer what Blankfein called a "narrow path" towards the soft landing the Chairman Jerome Powell -- who will speak at the Wall Street Journal's 'Future of Everything' event at 2 pm Eastern time on Tuesday -- has guided. 

That may be why benchmark 10-year note yields were optimistically higher in early Monday, at 2.933%, before fading to 2.88% in a move that helped rate-sensitive stocks reverse earlier declines.

Twitter  (TWTR) - Get Twitter Inc. Report shares ended down 8.2% after Tesla  (TSLA) - Get Tesla Inc. Report CEO Elon Musk said the social media group's legal team told him he had violated a non-disclosure agreement that could further delay his $44 billion takeover bid.

Tesla shares, meanwhile, fell 5.9% lower following reports that the carmaker will delay plans to return its Shanghai factory to full capacity amid the city's ongoing Covid lockdown.

Spirit Airlines  (SAVE) - Get Spirit Airlines Inc. Report soared 13.6% after JetBlue Airways  (JBLU) - Get JetBlue Airways Corporation Report launched a hostile takeover for the low-cost airline valued at around $3.2 billion.

McDonald's Corp.  (MCD) - Get McDonald's Corporation Report, meanwhile, edged 0.09% lower after deciding to permanently exit the Russia market, ending more than three decades of operations in the former Soviet Union, as a result of the humanitarian crisis linked to the ongoing assault of Ukraine.