US stocks wavered Wednesday after an unexpected interest rate hike from Canada, a surprise drop in Chinese exports and economic headwinds flagged by the Paris-based Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) stoked fresh concerns about global growth.
The Nasdaq 100 (^NDX) came under pressure as shares of Alphabet Inc. (GOOG) and Microsoft Corporation (MSFT) drifted lower by about 3%, respectively. The megacap tech companies had helped push the S&P 500 near a new bull market before retreating Wednesday.
The Bank of Canada hiked its key interest rate 25 basis points on Wednesday, ending its three-month pause on increases, as the Canadian economy is running too hot.
Official trade data released Wednesday added to the concerns around the post-pandemic recovery in the world's second-biggest economy, which have weighed on global markets. China’s exports slumped 7.5% from a year ago in May, compared with economists' expectations for a 0.4% decline.
“Weaker global trade is not a new story, but it is surprising how quickly China's reopening boost has faded, with backlogs of work supporting export numbers until now even as other countries have continued to see demand for their goods wane,” Craig Erlam, senior market analyst at Oanda, wrote in a note Wednesday.
“With China's reopening boom flagging so quickly, pressure is set to intensify on the leadership to announce new stimulus measures in a bid to revitalize the economy again,” the analyst added.
While the OECD lifted its global 2023 growth forecast slightly to 2.7% in its latest economic outlook Wednesday, the group identified potential drags on future recovery, as inflation persists and interest-rate hikes weigh on the economy.
Meanwhile, investors are closely monitoring whether the S&P 500 will enter a new bull market.
Treasury yields rose after the US Treasury said it plans to boost the size of its coming bill sales, which put pressure on short-dated bonds. The yield on the two-year yield rose to 4.55%, while that on the benchmark 10-year US Treasury note traded up to 3.79%.
Separately, on the housing front, mortgage applications for home purchase nearly hit a 30-year low in May as a renewed rise in mortgage rates weakened demand, the Mortgage Bankers Association reported Wednesday.
Elsewhere, the Securities and Exchange Commission’s stepped-up crackdown remained in focus for investors, after the regulator brought lawsuits against top cryptocurrency exchanges Coinbase (COIN) and Binance. Bitcoin’s price (BTC-USD) was trading below $27,000 Wednesday.
In single stock moves, shares of Tesla (TSLA) climbed more than 1% following the news that the Environmental Protection Agency would exclude EV makers from the Renewable Fuels Standard, Reuters reported.
United Natural Foods Inc. (UNFI) shares tumbled more than 15% after the grocery wholesaler posted third-quarter profit that came in short of expectations while cutting its full-year outlook. Meanwhile, Campbell Soup (CPB) shares sank 8% after the food company provided earnings guidance below Wall Street expectations.
Shares of Netflix (NFLX) ticked up after analysts at JPMorgan estimated that the streaming giant's password crackdown will generate close to $6 billion in extra revenue in 2024 and 2025. Affirm Holdings, Inc. (AFRM) shares added more than 3% after the company announced a partnership with Amazon (AMZN) Pay.
Next on the earnings docket includes GameStop (GME), which is set to report earnings after the markets close Wednesday. Shares advanced more than 5% Wednesday.
Dani Romero is a reporter for Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter @daniromerotv