US stocks start the New Year on a low

U.S. stocks slipped Tuesday to kick off the new year. The S&P 500 fell 15.36 points, or 0.4%, to 3824.14. The index dropped 19% last year, its biggest decline since 2008, the year Lehman Brothers collapsed. The tech-focused Nasdaq Composite dropped 79.50 points, or 0.8%, to 10386.98, and the Dow Jones Industrial Average slipped 10.88 points, or less than 0.1%, to 33136.37.

All three indexes opened the session higher before quickly giving up those gains. Six of the S&P 500’s 11 sectors fell, with energy leading the decliners and the communication-services and financial sectors among the bright spots.

Apple (APPL:NASDAQ) shares declined $4.86, or 3.7%, to $125.07, pulling the iPhone maker’s market value below $2 trillion for the first time since March 2021, according to Dow Jones Market Data.

The tech company’s market cap stood at $1.99 trillion. A year ago, Apple briefly topped a $3 trillion market value intraday before closing at its peak market cap of $2.986 trillion. That means Apple has lost $996.5 billion in market value since that peak closing capitalization.

Shares of Amazon (AMZN:NASDAQ) finished 2.71% higher. The ecommerce giant had a disappointing 2022 which saw its shares tumble nearly 50% in 2022, and market capitalization decline by $834.06 billion.

Amazon’s stock sunk as the company’s earnings floundered and fourth-quarter guidance was dispiriting. Its performance was in line with the tech sector more broadly, which has been hurt by rising interest rates, slowing internet advertising and other factors.

Shares of electric vehicle company Rivian Automotive Inc. (RIVN:NASDAQ) dropped 5.91% after the electric vehicle company fell short of its 25,000-vehicle production target for 2022, capping a challenging year for the electric-truck startup.

Rivian said in a regulatory filing that it produced 10,020 completed vehicles in the final three months of 2022, bringing its total for the year to 24,337. The company delivered 20,332 of those vehicles to customers. Supply-chain issues forced Rivian’s sole factory in Normal, Ill., to close for 20 days this past year, and shut down early for an additional 50 days.

AMC Entertainment (AMC:NYSE), meanwhile, slipped 14 cents, or 3.4%, to $3.93 after rival Cineworld Group said it wasn’t in talks with the theater chain regarding the sale of its cinema assets. AMC had said last month that it held discussions regarding a potential strategic acquisition of theaters from the bankrupt Cineworld.

Tesla (TSLA:NASDAQ) was a notable mover, dropping $15.08, or 12.2%, to $108.10, its largest percent decrease since Sept. 8, 2020, according to Dow Jones Market Data. The electric-vehicle maker fell short of its 2022 delivery target. Tesla stock suffered its worst-ever year in 2022, declining 65%.

Paypal (PYPL:NASDAQ) shares received a boost after analysts at Truist upgraded the digital payment company to Buy from Neutral, boosting its price target on the stock from $75 per share to $95. As Truist believes the big plunge in PayPal’s share price over the past 12 months more than reflects any likely slowdown in its fundamental business.

The analysts have also cited M&A prospects and buyback flexibility as another reason for their upgrade. Paypal currently has $6bn in free cash flow which the Truist believes would be utilized to buy back some of its shares

Albeit, investors wary of what 2023 may bring. Inflation—and the lengths that central bankers are willing to go to tame it—will remain a focus. The Federal Reserve has signaled plans to lift interest rates through the spring, although some traders, expecting that the U.S. could slip into a recession, are betting that policy makers will pivot to cutting rates.

Investors are also assessing what China’s border reopening and wider shift from its previous strict stance on Covid-19 will mean for markets.

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