Clean Energy, Semiconductors Among Interest-Rate-Sensitive Sectors Hammered Thursday Afternoon On Rate Cut Concerns

Zinger Key Points
  • Stocks traded higher Thursday morning before reversing on hawkish Fed Speak
  • The sectors that got hit the hardest include semiconductors, clean energy and more

It looked like all systems go for the market Thursday after the U.S. Labor Department reported more initial jobless claims than expected. The data was construed as a signal that the labor market is cooling down, conducive to the Fed's goal of lowering inflation. All indices opened the day higher, with the tech sector and the Invesco QQQ Trust Series QQQ leading the way, at one point trading up more than 1% and eyeing a record close.

But, before the day was over, various Fed speakers appeared tentative about the notion of cutting interest rates too early, sending stocks into a freefall.

The Price Action: The stocks that got hammered the hardest on Thursday came primarily from interest-rate-sensitive sectors like semiconductors and clean energy stocks. These companies are more prone to sell-offs on hawkish Fed policy, as they typically are borrowing money to help pay for growth. When interest rates stay higher for longer, it makes borrowing money more expensive, hurting profits.

NVIDIA Corp NVDA, Advanced Micro Devices AMD, Super Micro Computer SMCI and other chip names dropped significantly on the hawkish Fed Speak. The Invesco Solar ETF TAN, which tracks companies in the solar and clean energy space, fell more than 3% intraday on the interest rate fears.

Other sectors that got hit include regional banks, with the SPDR S&P Regional Banking ETF KRE dropping more than 2%, and the biotech industry, with the SPDR S&P Biotech ETF XBI dropping more than 2% intraday.

Comments From Fed Officials

On Thursday, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond President Thomas Barkin said that the Fed should “take its time” cutting interest rates, and that data so far in 2024 has been less encouraging in regards to slowing inflation. 

Then, less than an hour later, Chicago Fed President Austan Goolsbee said that housing inflation will need to come down to bring inflation to the Fed's 2% target. Other Fed officials that spoke Thursday raised doubts to if the central bank will be able to cut rates at all this year, let alone three times, like Chairman Jerome Powell laid out just a couple of weeks ago.

Now Read: From Mouse To Marvel: Disney Stock Rockets 50% As CEO Bob Iger Attempts Turnaround

Image created using artificial intelligence via Midjourney.

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