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It feels like markets are reliving the worst of 2022. But investors still hope for a fresh start this year.
What you need to know today
The bottom line
A selloff in the U.S. markets, rising oil prices and escalating U.S.-China tensions — it feels like we’re back in the worst part of 2022.
U.S. stocks had a terrible week. The Nasdaq dropped 0.61% on Friday, giving it a 2.41% loss for the week. The Dow gained 0.5% and the S&P rose 0.2%, but they still ended the week lower, with the S&P turning in its worst weekly performance in nearly two months.
Higher energy prices are back, too. The Brent contract for April, which covers oil from Europe’s North Sea, hit $86.39 a barrel, having risen more than 8% for the week. U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude futures rose to $79.72 a barrel, an 8.63% increase for the week — its best since October. Those prices spiked about 2% each on Friday after Russia said it would cut oil production next month to retaliate against Western sanctions.
Relations between the United States and China are fraying. After the U.S. shot down a suspected spy balloon last week, the Commerce Department imposed sanctions on six Chinese aerospace companies that it said support China’s espionage program. On Sunday, the U.S. military shot down a fourth unidentified object — following a second object downed on Friday and a third over the Yukon on Saturday. Though the objects’ origins are still unclear, it’s increasingly likely more sanctions will come.
Amid all that, investors are focusing on the upcoming U.S. consumer price index reading for January with renewed intensity. The numbers will indicate whether we’ll be forced to relive the dark days of 2022, or if there’s hope in at least one part of the economy — America’s consumers.
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