U.S. stocks fade as Fed fears simmer

STORY: U.S. stocks fell on Monday after a choppy session, as investors digested comments from Federal Reserve officials about plans for more interest rate hikes.

The Dow fell nearly two thirds of a percent. The S&P 500 dropped about nine tenths of a percent, while the Nasdaq fell more than a percent.

Fed Vice Chair Lael Brainard signaled that the pace of rate hikes may soon slow, which helped lift stocks for much of the afternoon.

But Fed fears took hold at the end of the session.

And Michael Landsberg, chief investment officer at Landsberg Bennett Private Wealth Management, said it was a mistake to think the Fed might soon back off its fight against inflation.

"I think there's still this belief that the Fed is going to pivot. I think people are you know, I think when you hear anything from a Fed governor that says, oh, we might slow the rate of change, people go, oh, that's a pivot. I think it's a mistake. But I think people are just reading into anything... I look at it in light of the fact that there's a lot of companies are going to lay off people.

Shares of Amazon ended more than 2% lower, following reports the e-commerce giant was planning to lay off about 10,000 people in corporate and technology jobs starting as soon as this week.

That follows other tech giants announcing big cuts to their payrolls, and Landsberg says the pain isn’t over yet.

“I mean, Microsoft, Amazon, I mean, you're talking these are creme de la creme companies. This isn't some, you know, little shady, you know, crypto environment. These are these are as blue chip as it gets. And they're laying off a lot of people. That indicates to me that the tech is still over owned, still probably overvalued. And at least the executives there are starting to realize that, you know what, our earnings aren't going to be what we thought they were going to be. We're going to need to cut expenses."

Other mega-caps including Microsoft and Tesla fell more than 2% but shares of Meta Platforms gained a percent.

And shares of Biogen and Eli Lilly gained after the failure of Swiss rival Roche's Alzheimer's disease drug candidate, which could not be shown to slow dementia progression in two drug trials.