January 2022 Highlights

 The S&P 500 rose but closed out its worst month since March 2020 as expectations for higher interest rates erode enthusiasm for stocks.

The broad U.S. stock index retreated 5.3% in volatile trading in January as investors wrestle with the question of how tighter monetary policy will influence equity valuations. High inflation and a strong labor market have led Federal Reserve officials to accelerate their plans for unwinding support for the economy.

The central bank last week signalled that it would begin steadily raising rates in mid-March. Adding to investors’ anxieties in recent weeks: the possibility of a Russian invasion of Ukraine and the surge of the Omicron variant of Covid-19.

Technology stocks have slumped as investors consider how rising interest rates could weigh on the group’s pricey valuations, which are based in part on expectations for growth far into the future. Microsoft shares dropped 7.5%, while Nvidia’s slumped 17%.

Netflix jumped $42.78, or 11%, to $427.14 after a ratings upgrade from Citigroup and share purchases by Co-Chief Executive Reed Hastings. Still, the stock ended January down 29%, its worst month since April 2012.

Bitcoin prices (BTC-USD) jumped by nearly 10% Friday afternoon to cross the $40,000 level, with the largest cryptocurrency by market cap posting its biggest single-day rise in months as digital currency prices tracked gains across major tech stocks.

Prices of Ether, Lite Coin, and XRP also moved notably higher during intraday trading as well. Stocks related to cryptocurrencies also gained, including Coinbase (COIN) with a rise of 5%, and MicroStrategy (MSTR) with a jump of more than 11%.

Amazon (AMZN) shares rose by 12% just after market open, which would mark the biggest single-day rise in the stock since 2017 after the e-commerce giant posted stronger-than-expected earnings results and announced a price increase on its Prime membership subscription. Fourth-quarter sales grew 9.4% over last year to a record $137.4 billion. Though online store net sales were down slightly on a year-over-year basis, high-margin Amazon Web Services cloud sales grew 40% to reach $17.8 billion.

Amazon also said its Prime annual membership was going up in price by $20 to $139 each year, offering a future boost to top-line results. The company sees current-quarter net sales coming in between $112 billion and $117 billion, with operating income of as much as $6.0 billion.