Canadian Manufacturing

Falling consumer confidence drops stock market performance

The Canadian Press

Exporting & Importing Manufacturing Infrastructure Economy inflation Manufacturing

The pessimism comes amid high inflation and fears that aggressive interest rate hikes will throw the economy into a full-blown recession.

Waning consumer confidence and Fed warnings about interest rate hikes pushed North American stock markets lower ahead of data on Jun. 29 that could confirm the U.S. is in a technical recession.

After getting off to a positive start, markets floundered after two Federal Reserve members burst the bubble of investors who thought weaker economic data could prompt the central bank to pull its foot off the pedal of aggressive rate hikes.

New York Fed president John Williams and San Francisco Fed president Mary Daly said on Jun. 28 that the central bank is committed to fully tackling inflation.

The tone wasn’t new, but there was a break in the use of that language over the past couple of days that prompted risk assets to bounce, said Mike Archibald, vice-president and portfolio manager with AGF Investments Inc.


“So now you’re getting pressure today on kind of the long duration assets, the growthier parts of the market, so technology and consumer discretionary, and communication services,” he said in an interview.

Analysts are forecasting the U.S. economy will be negative 1.5 per cent in the second quarter, following a 1.5 per cent drop on an annualized basis in the first quarter. Together, that constitutes a recession with two consecutive quarters of negative growth.

“A more significant drawdown for sure is the concern and obviously you’ve seen the impact of that on certain risk assets,” Archibald said.

“We need to get closer to the point in time where we feel confident that the Fed has done their interest rate hiking cycle and I don’t think we’re anywhere near that yet. So that’s likely going to mean there’s gonna be further volatility in the market.”

On top of commentary from Fed speakers, consumer confidence data was weaker than expected.

The Conference Board said the consumer confidence index fell to a reading of 98.7 in June, down from 103.2 in May to the lowest level since before the COVID-19 pandemic.

The pessimism comes amid high inflation and fears that aggressive interest rate hikes will throw the economy into a full-blown recession.

Energy was the biggest winner on the day. It climbed 4.2 per cent as crude oil prices increased two per cent after the G7 released its plan to cap Russian oil exports or put price limits on it.

“Clearly there’s still a push to put in punitive measures against Russia. The oil market today is obviously taking this as positive. And certainly you’re seeing big, big moves up in the energy space. It’s by far the leader on the board today.”

The Canadian dollar traded for 77.74 cents US compared with 77.60 cents US on Jun. 27.


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