Markets Start December Looking for Direction

Stocks kicked off the final trading month of 2022 in fickle fashion, as traders and investors digested a series of economic reports and Wednesday’s comments by Federal Reserve Chief Jerome Powell(opens in new tab). 
A reading on U.S. manufacturing activity contracted for the first time since the height of the pandemic, raising the specter of recession(opens in new tab) in 2023. Apple (AAPL(opens in new tab)) stock continued to deal with the potential impact to iPhone production(opens in new tab) from COVID-19 lockdowns and civil unrest in China. Meanwhile, the Fed’s preferred measure of inflation(opens in new tab) showed that prices for core goods and services continued to moderate.
Perhaps the most important piece of macroeconomic news on Thursday came from the Institute for Supply Management. Its gauge of factory activity slipped to 49 in November from 50.2 the previous month. Readings below 50 indicate contraction. The gauge has now declined in five of the past six months, but this was the first time that factory activity actually receded since May 2020. 

[Read More…]