Market volatility continues

By CNN Business

Updated 6:22 p.m. ET, December 1, 2021
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4:23 p.m. ET, December 1, 2021

Stocks lose steam

From CNN Business' Anneken Tappe

US stocks lost steam Wednesday afternoon and ended in the red after an initial rally.

It has been a few volatile days in the market and clearly the volatility isn’t behind us just yet. Beyond the newly identified Omicron variant, the first case of which has been identified in the United States, investors can also worry about Washington’s gridlock over the debt ceiling, as well as a looming government shutdown if stopgap funding isn’t agreed on.

3:55 p.m. ET, December 1, 2021

The first big bank eliminates overdraft fees

From CNN Business' Paul R. La Monica

Smaller firms and lawmakers alike have put pressure on banks to get rid of overdraft fees — and now, the first top-ten bank has committed to doing so.

Capital One (COF), the sixth-largest US retail bank, said Wednesday it will stop penalizing clients for taking out more cash or writing checks for more money than they have in their accounts.

Smaller banks like Ally and digital-only financial firm Alliant kicked off the trend, but a big name like Capital One getting into the game could inspire other large outfits to follow suit.

The fees have been moneymakers for financial institutions, and many lawmakers and regulators have criticized banks for penalizing already cash-strapped customers with onerous overdraft fees that have generated billions of dollars in revenue.

For example, Senator Elizabeth Warren lambasted JPMorgan Chase (JPM) CEO Jamie Dimon earlier this year, referring to him as "the star of the overdraft show."

Read more here.

2:21 p.m. ET, December 1, 2021

The Dow and Nasdaq have turned red

From CNN Business' Anneken Tappe

Whoops, so much for that. The Dow and Nasdaq Composite have both turned red.

The Dow is down 0.1%, or 19 points, while the Nasdaq is 0.4% lower. The S&P 500 is still hanging on to some modest gains.

2:02 p.m. ET, December 1, 2021

Stocks have pared gains — but they're still up for now

From CNN Business' Anneken Tappe

The market has run out of juice a little this afternoon. All three major indexes have come off their highs by quite a bit.

The Dow was up 0.3%, or about 110 points, while the S&P 500 was up 0.6%. The Nasdaq Composite was up 0.2%.

In Omicron news, the first US case of the new variant has been diagnosed in California.

1:22 p.m. ET, December 1, 2021

Stay put and ride out the volatility, BlackRock PM says

From CNN Business' Anneken Tappe

To say that the market has been choppy lately would be a ridiculous understatement. Ever since the identification of the Omicron variant, stocks have been a hot mess of a rollercoaster.

But per usual, that doesn't mean you shouldn't invest in them — just don't look at your accounts on the rockier days, one expert says.

"When you invest in equities, you invest for the long haul. You've got to keep that mindset," said Tony DeSpirito, chief investment officer of BlackRock's US fundamental equities and the portfolio manager of the BlackRock Equity Dividend Fund.

"Don't try to time the market, but just try to stay in the market."

At the end of the day, stocks are still a great place to be in this higher inflation environment, DeSpirito said on the CNN Business' digital live show Markets Now.

"I've been recommending balance, more cyclical, more stable sectors," he said, pointing at energy and financials, though he's also bullish on the non-cyclical healthcare sector.

12:57 p.m. ET, December 1, 2021

Maybe it's not just Powell who's hawkish, strategist says

From CNN Business' Anneken Tappe

Federal Reserve Board Chairman Jerome Powell testifies during a hearing before Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee on Capitol Hill November 30, 2021 in Washington, DC.
Federal Reserve Board Chairman Jerome Powell testifies during a hearing before Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee on Capitol Hill November 30, 2021 in Washington, DC. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell surprised investors and lawmakers yesterday when he said the central bank might roll off its pandemic stimulus program sooner than expected.

But what if it wasn't just Powell talking?

Greg Valliere, chief US policy strategist at AGF Investments, suspects that when Powell went to the White House to talk to President Joe Biden about his renomination for a second term at the Fed, the President asked him for help in managing the nation's high inflation.

"I think there was tremendous pressure on Powell to sound hawkish yesterday," Valliere said on the CNN Business digital live show Markets Now.
"I think Biden knows that inflation might cost him the house, maybe the Senate as well," he added.
12:53 p.m. ET, December 1, 2021

Omicron could ‘put a damper on things’ but it’s too early to say, Business Roundtable CEO says

From CNN's Matt Egan

Passengers wait to board flights, amidst the spread of the new SARS-CoV-2 variant, at O.R. Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg, South Africa, on November 27, 2021. 
Passengers wait to board flights, amidst the spread of the new SARS-CoV-2 variant, at O.R. Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg, South Africa, on November 27, 2021.  (Sumaya Hisham/Reuters)

Business Roundtable CEO Joshua Bolten acknowledged on Wednesday the Omicron coronavirus variant has the potential to disrupt the economic recovery but said it’s too early to say for sure.

“If it does turn out to be as dramatic a shift as the Delta variant was, that will definitely put a damper on things,” Bolten told reporters during a press conference in Washington. 

Bolten said the trade group’s CEO members are adopting the view that it’s too early to tell what the economic impact will be.

“We don’t know, because the experts don’t know. Everyone’s got fingers crossed that it’s not too bad,” Bolten said. 

Despite the Omicron news, Business Roundtable CEOs still plan to convene in Washington on Thursday.

“Pretty much everyone who said they were going to show up, is showing up,” Bolten said. “We are following a very right protocol of insisting that everyone who enters the space get vaccinated and recently tested, including staff, vendors and caterers.”

Bolten added on Omicron, “It’s TBD, with a lot of people pretty concerned.”

12:08 p.m. ET, December 1, 2021

Stocks stay strong at midday

From CNN Business' Anneken Tappe

It's lunchtime, and we have only a few minutes left before the end of the House Financial Services Committee hearing with Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell and Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen.

Stocks have held onto their sharp gains today, even as Powell reiterated comments from Tuesday that the Fed might wind down its pandemic stimulus sooner than expected.

"The taper need not be a disruptive event for markets," he said, adding that the central bank has telegraphed well what it is doing.

The Dow was up 1.1%, or nearly 400 points, around midday, while the broader S&P 500 was up 1.6%. The Nasdaq Composite rose 1.3%.

11:35 a.m. ET, December 1, 2021

Don't take forecasts as fact: Powell

From CNN Business' Anneken Tappe

Here's a PSA from Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell: Economic forecasts are no crystal ball.

The Fed predicts inflation will be come down next year as supply chain problems sort themselves out over time. As of September, the Fed's median PCE inflation forecast was 4.2% for this year and 2.2% for next year.

But we shouldn't take this forecast as fact, Powell said.

"Inflation has been more persistent and higher than we have expected," he pointed out while testifying before the House Financial Services Committee.