U.S. stocks were falling on Wednesday as investors studied data that showed the economy was cooling.
Retail sales for December fell more than expected, giving investors hope that interest rate increases by the Federal Reserve wouldn’t have to be as aggressive as they were last year. Holiday sales rose 5.3% but came in below analyst expectations.
The market has already been betting that the Fed’s next rate move would be smaller than the moves it made last year, with the expectation being a quarter of a percentage point rate increase in February.
Adding to the hope that inflation is waning, producer prices also rose less than expected for the year.
Later today, the Fed will release its periodic beige book, which is a collection of observations by officials in each of its regional bank districts, with commentary on business activity and economic conditions throughout the country.
Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) shares fell 1.2% after it said it was cutting 10,000 jobs and taking a $1.2 billion charge as it braces for slower revenue growth.
Moderna, Inc. (NASDAQ:MRNA) shares rose 2.5% after the COVID-19 vaccine maker said it had success with older adults in a trial of its experimental vaccine for RSV, a contagious respiratory virus.