It’s been a wobbly week on Wall Street and CNN Business’ Fear and Greed Index is flashing “Fear.”
The stock market is in a weird place. It’s fallen in seven of the past nine sessions as fear about the pandemic has gripped Wall Street. The Fear & Greed Index is sitting at 39: right in the middle of “fear” territory.
Friday might be another day of losses, as the three major indexes opened lower. The Dow slipped 0.2%, or 51 points, while the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq Composite also both fell 0.2%.
Yet stocks are near record highs. The S&P sat just a bit more than 1% below its all-time peak at Thursday’s close.
So what’s going on?
Investors are in a holding pattern. Many expected the Federal Reserve to be ready to announce a rollback of its emergency stimulus next week. But after a disappointing August jobs report, that seems less likely.
The Fed’s two mandates are price stability and maximum employment. And with the shortfall in job growth last month, the latter just isn’t a given yet.
While the Delta variant is weighing on job growth, other economic indicators have been doing just fine. Retail sales were better than expected this week, rising rather than falling, and inflation came off its 13-year high. These are good signs for consumer spending, which is the backbone of the US economy.
There are a lot of moving parts, and with so much in wait-and-see mode, Wall Street is worried — but not overly worried. Experts say the best thing for you to do right now is keep your money in the market.
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