Markets Lower to Close Out Volatile Week…..

U.S. equities finished lower, posting solid losses on a weekly basis along the way, amid a week rife of volatility. Uncertainty regarding the ultimate impact of the omicron variant continued to plague sentiment, while investors began the process of coming to grips with the Fed and Bank of England starting to back away from the easy monetary policies of the past two years. On the equity front, FedEx gained ground following its earnings results, but Darden Restaurants slipped despite topping Q2 expectations and General Motors fell after announcing the CEO of its autonomous driving unit, Cruise, has left the company. Treasuries were mixed and the U.S. dollar traded to the upside amid a dormant economic calendar, while gold was little changed after yesterday’s rally and crude oil prices came under pressure. Europe finished mostly lower to close out the week, while markets in Asia were mixed following the Bank of Japan’s monetary policy decision.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average tumbled 532 points (1.5%) to 35,365, the S&P 500 Index declined 48 points (1.0%) to 4,621, and the Nasdaq Composite nudged 11 points (0.1%) lower to 15,170. In very heavy volume as a result of “quadruple witching”—the coinciding expiration of stock options, index options, stock futures and index futures—7.5 billion shares of NYSE-listed stocks were traded, and 7.2 billion shares changed hands on the Nasdaq. WTI crude oil lost $1.43 to $70.72 per barrel. Elsewhere, the gold spot price shed $0.40 to $1,797.20 per ounce, and the Dollar Index—a comparison of the U.S. dollar to six major world currencies—gained 0.6% to 96.62. Markets were solidly lower on the week, as the DJIA lost 1.7%, the S&P 500 decreased 1.9%, and the Nasdaq Composite plunged 3.0%.

Treasuries were mixed with the economic calendar void of any major releases today, as the yield on the 2-year note rose 2 basis points (bps) to 0.63%, while the yield on the 10-year note was down 1 bp at 1.41%, and the 30-year bond rate decreased 4 bps to 1.82%.

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