The Week's Top Stories is a guided tour through the biggest market stories of the week, from winning stocks to brutal dips to the facts and forecasts generating buzz on Wall Street.
It was a jam-packed week for macro-economic developments. First, the consumer price index showed inflation continuing to slow, rising a meager 0.1 percent month-over-month and 4 percent from 12 months ago. Also, the Federal Reserve left its benchmark interest rate unchanged at about 5 percent, pausing a tightening cycle that began in early 2022 — even as it said that at least two more rate increases are in store for this year.
UnitedHealth Group's stock plunged on Wednesday after the health insurer revealed that a spike in surgeries was pushing up costs. The stock fell 6.4 percent, one of its biggest decline ever. Chief Financial Officer John Rex blamed the cost increases on "pent-up demand" from the elderly, who put off surgeries, such as knee replacements, during the pandemic. The sell-off was a drag on the rest of the stock market, though the major indexes bounced back before the end of the trading week.
The IPO market has been relatively quiet since the most recent bull market took hold, but the Mediterranean restaurant chain Cava breathed some life back into it this week with a blockbuster debut. The stock skyrocketed 117 percent on Thursday, closing above $43 per share and giving the company a market cap of nearly $5 billion. The chain started in 2006 and entered the emerging fast casual market in 2011, bolstered by other brands such as Chipotle Mexican Grill. Cava's sales shot up nearly 13 percent in 2022.
TOYOTA TOPS OUT
Toyota Motor's stock shot up 10 percent this week, marking the automaker's best week on Wall Street since 2009, after it disclosed plans for a next generation of electric vehicles. The stock usually doesn't make such large moves, but the latest news restored confidence in the company's EV strategy, which was previously criticized for lacking ambition compared to rival firms. The first line-up of new EVs will launch in 2026.