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CNBC Daily Open: Powell says high rates threaten growth

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) on February 27, 2023 in New York City.

Spencer Platt | Getty Images

This report is from today’s CNBC Daily Open, our international markets newsletter. CNBC Daily Open brings investors up to speed on everything they need to know, no matter where they are. Like what you see? You can subscribe here.

What you need to know today

Inching to records
The S&P 500 and the Nasdaq Composite inched their way to intraday and record closes as Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell warned of the dangers of keeping interest rates high. Nvidia rose 2.48% after KeyBanc raised its price target for the AI chipmaker. Apple climbed to a record close for the sixth consecutive day. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 52 points. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose even as Powell said progress had been made on inflation. Oil prices fell for the third straight day.

Growth in jeopardy 
Powell warned that keeping interest rates high for too long could harm economic growth. Despite recent cooling, he noted that the economy and labor market remain strong. Powell highlighted progress in reducing inflation towards the central bank’s 2% target. “At the same time, in light of the progress made both in lowering inflation and in cooling the labor market over the past two years, elevated inflation is not the only risk we face,” Powell said in prepared remarks. “Reducing policy restraint too late or too little could unduly weaken economic activity and employment.”

Ukraine aid
President Joe Biden announced new commitments to enhance Ukraine‘s air defense against Russia during a speech commemorating NATO’s 75th anniversary. “Putin wants nothing less — nothing less — than Ukraine’s total subjugation, to end Ukraine’s democracy,” Biden said. “We know Putin won’t stop at Ukraine. But make no mistake: Ukraine can and will stop Putin, especially with our full collective support.” The aid includes new Patriot missile system components from the U.S., Germany, Romania, the Netherlands and others, with Italy donating an additional SAMP-T missile system. More air defense supplies will be distributed in the coming months.

Boeing slides 
Shares of Boeing slid 1.4% after the aircraft maker delivered 44 commercial jets in June, its highest monthly total this year but a 27% annual drop amid legal and production issues. Despite supply chain snags and increased regulatory scrutiny following a 737 Max 9 incident, Boeing aims to expand production by year-end. The company agreed to plead guilty to criminal fraud over two 737 Max crashes, risking government contracts.

Macron’s legacy
French President Emmanuel Macron’s failed snap election gamble is expected to severely impact his political ambitions and legacy, analysts say. The snap parliamentary election, called after his center-right party’s defeat in the European Parliament elections, resulted in a surprise victory for the left-wing New Popular Front alliance. Macron now faces governing challenges, potentially needing to collaborate with a coalition or technocratic government and a left-wing prime minister. This outcome not only hampers his legislative and reform efforts but also diminishes his political standing and influence in Europe, where he has sought a key leadership role.

[PRO] Don’t chase new highs
Despite all-time highs for the S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite, Canaccord Genuity advises investors to hold off on buying into the recent stock market rally. Here are some of the reasons the investment bank suggests waiting for a near-term pullback.

The bottom line

Boeing must be hoping it can finally turn the page on its safety crisis but the latest data shows it has a steep challenge. The company delivered 175 planes year-to-date, compared to European rival Airbus’s 323 deliveries in the first half.

Boeing’s guilty plea to criminal fraud for two fatal 737 Max crashes and a $487 million fine is a fraction of the $24.78 billion sought by victims’ families as well as Boeing’s $77.8 billion 2023 revenue. Victims’ families plan to urge the judge to reject the deal.

“This sweetheart deal fails to recognize that because of Boeing’s conspiracy, 346 people died,” said Paul Cassell, attorney for the families. “The deadly consequences of Boeing’s crime are being hidden.” 

Boeing shares fell 1.4% to $183.24 on Tuesday. That’s up from a low of $159.70 in April but still down almost 30% for the year. Meantime, the S&P 500 inched up just 0.07% for its 36th record close of the year — the lack of breath keeping gains in check.

Wall Street’s attention was focused on Powell’s testimony on Capitol Hill. While acknowledging holding rates too high for too long may jeopardize growth, Powell said, “More good data would strengthen our confidence that inflation is moving sustainably toward 2%.”

More inflation data is due on Thursday, followed by producer prices on Friday. Powell’s comments did little to change market expectations that the Fed would cut rates in September and once more by the end of the year.

However, investors expecting a stock market boost from rate cuts may be disappointed, according to Adam Crisafulli of Vital Knowledge.

“Our view remains cautious on the SPX as investors are too optimistic about the power of Fed cuts and not focused enough on the softening momentum happening in the economy,” he wrote. “The case for rate reductions to start in September is strong, but a modest easing cycle, as the approaching one will likely be, won’t be enough to immediately halt the growth slowdown presently underway.”

CNBC’s Jeff Cox, Brian Evans, Sarah Min, Spencer Kimball, Rebecca Picciotto, Holly Ellyatt, Fred Imbert, Michelle Fox, Todd Haselton and Yun Li contributed to this report.



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