US stocks try to bounce back to record levels

By CNN Business

Updated 6:58 p.m. ET, April 7, 2021
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4:56 p.m. ET, April 7, 2021

Stocks finish mixed, S&P 500 hit record high

From CNN Business' Anneken Tappe

US stocks ended mixed on Wednesday, but the S&P 500 eked out a new all-time high nonetheless, closing up 0.1%.

Economic news was also a mixed bag, with the US trade deficit for February soaring to a historic high, and the Federal Reserve’s meeting minutes reiterating that the central bank won’t change its policies for a the foreseeable future.

The Dow closed up 0.1%, or 16 points.

The Nasdaq Composite ended 0.1% lower.

2:46 p.m. ET, April 7, 2021

'It would likely be some time' until Fed's goals are achieved: Fed minutes

From CNN Business' Anneken Tappe

The Federal Reserve released the minutes from its March policy meeting, saying that the economy is not where it needs to be to make some policy changes.

Fed officials "noted that it would likely be some time until substantial further progress toward the Committee’s maximum-employment and price-stability goals would be realized and that, consistent with the Committee’s outcome-based guidance, asset purchases would continue at least at the current pace until then," the minutes read.

That's consistent with everything the central bank has been telling us: unemployment is still too high and inflation, in spite of being the boogeyman of the market, is still too low to make big policy changes.

1:40 p.m. ET, April 7, 2021

Earnings season could keep stock rally going: strategist

From CNN Business' Anneken Tappe

The economic recovery is under way, and while plenty of work remains to be done, stocks are once again hitting record territory. The Dow and the S&P 500 last notched fresh all-time highs on Monday.

"We expected stronger growth," Nancy Tengler, chief investment officer at Laffer Tengler Investments, which meant to rotate portfolios towards consumer companies and businesses benefitting from discretionary spending.

"Right now we're seeing stimulus keeping stocks going, and then earnings growth will take over from that," she told Alison Kosik on the CNN Business digital live show Markets Now.

"This year we're buying calls against the VIX," because the volatility index is heading into low territory and could spike higher, Tengler said.

"And we continue to buy puts on the SPY," the ETF tracking the S&P 500, which would pay off if stocks prices drop in the future, she added.

As for of tech stocks, "I think Amazon (AMZN) is interesting here," she said, because the company has a robust cloud business and "the winds are at its back in terms of e-commerce."

1:05 p.m. ET, April 7, 2021

Fitness industry got no support: Barry's Bootcamp CEO

From CNN Business' Anneken Tappe

As fitness regimes moved into living rooms, home offices and bedrooms during the pandemic, Barry's Bootcamp studios was forced to shut its doors for a time.

"Given we were left with virtually no support, we had to raise money last year," said Barry's CEO Joey Gonzalez.

Barry's was lucky, but a quarter of gyms in the markets where it has locations will be forced to close, Gonzalez said on the CNN Business digital live show Markets Now.

"Fitness as an industry has gotten no support," as opposed restaurants or airlines, Gonzalez said. "It seems crazy during a health crisis not to invest in health and wellness. I don't think this country sees fitness as preventative healthcare."

As for the future, Barry's will cater to consumers both in its studios and through online experiences, Gonzalez added.

1:45 p.m. ET, April 7, 2021

Fed minutes unlikely to bring more details on policy changes

From CNN Business' Anneken Tappe

The Federal Reserve is due to publish the minutes from its latest monetary policy meeting this afternoon and investors are anxiously waiting to learn what was said during the meeting.

Lindsey Piegza, chief economist at Stifel, would love to see some details on the central bank's exit strategy from its current monetary policy stance. "But we're unlikely to see that," she admitted during the CNN Business digital live show Markets Now.

"I think we've seen a lot of data that suggest the US economy is on a much stronger trajectory than expected, [...] but from the Fed's perspective they've been pretty clear," Piegza said: The central bank wants to keep its policy where it is while the economy continues to recover.

And any changes to its policies won't be a surprise either. "The Fed has been very clear that it wants to be as transparent with the market as possible," Piegza added.

12:04 p.m. ET, April 7, 2021

It's midday and the market is flashing red

From CNN Business' Anneken Tappe

All three major stock indexes are down at midday. In fact it's a pretty red day across the board.

The Dow is down 0.2%, or 59 points, around lunchtime, while the broader S&P 500 is little changed. The Nasdaq Composite dipped 0.1%.

The 10-year US Treasury bond yield is also down, meaning that bond prices are ticking higher as yields and prices move in opposition to each other. The 10-year bond yielded roughly 1.64% around midday.

Elsewhere, the US dollar index is little changed at 92.3. In the commodities world, US oil futures are down 1.7% at $58.32 per barrel and gold prices are down 0.2% at $1,738 an ounce.

11:58 a.m. ET, April 7, 2021

Goldilocks or a Volcker moment? Dimon lays out the boom-bust scenarios

From CNN Business' Matt Egan

JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon says there is reason to be optimistic that the economic recovery from the pandemic will be just right -- not too hot and not too cold.

"It is possible that we will have a Goldilocks moment -- fast and sustained growth, inflation that moves up gently (but not too much) and interest rates that rise (but not too much)," Dimon wrote in his annual shareholder letter.

A long-lasting economic boom would help America pay down its pile of debt.

And the Fed could more easily exit its emergency programs, Dimon said, because doing so won't "stop a roaring economy," even if it causes "a little market turmoil."

But the JPMorgan boss also warns there is a risk the economy overheats, with surging inflation that forces the Fed to resort to Volcker-style rate hikes that prematurely end the recovery.

"Much of the stimulus may very well hit when the economy is doing quite well," Dimon said. "I am reminded of when Paul Volcker effectively raised interest rates by 200 basis points on a Saturday night."

That scenario would raise the cost of US debt and leave the country entering a recession with very high deficits.

9:32 a.m. ET, April 7, 2021

Stocks open lower

From CNN Business' Anneken Tappe

US stocks dipped lower at the opening bell in New York Wednesday.

Economic data showed the US trade deficit widened to a historic high of $71 billion in February, and investors are awaiting the Federal Reserve’s latest meeting minutes due in the early afternoon.

9:30 a.m. ET, April 7, 2021

IMF: Tax increases could help the pandemic recovery

From CNN Business' Anneken Tappe

A woman walks past an International Monetary Fund headquarters (IMF) building in Washington, DC on April 5, 2021.
A woman walks past an International Monetary Fund headquarters (IMF) building in Washington, DC on April 5, 2021. Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images

The International Monetary Fund suggested Wednesday that some nations should use additional taxes to help recover from the pandemic.

"Countries with robust tax systems may consider levying temporary Covid-19 recovery contributions as supplements to top personal income tax rates," the organization said in a report.

This could be in the form of temporary personal income tax hikes, or levies on companies' "excess" profits, to ensure that businesses that are struggling as a result of the pandemic aren't affected by it.