Wall Street ends down on fears inflation will force tougher Fed tightening


(REUTERS/File Photo)

Wall Street’s main indexes extended losses on Friday as investors worried that the Federal Reserve will need to be more aggressive than expected in raising interest rates to combat inflation.

The tech-heavy Nasdaq registered its lowest close since 2020, notching a fifth straight weekly loss, its longest losing streak since the fourth quarter of 2012. The S&P 500 also posted its fifth straight weekly loss, its longest string of weekly losses since the second quarter of 2011.

“Ninety-five percent of the driver of the market right now is long-term interest rates,” said Jay Hatfield, founder and chief executive of Infrastructure Capital Management in New York.

The Labor Department presented stronger-than-expected jobs data with nonfarm payrolls increasing by 428,000 jobs in April, versus expectations of 391,000 job additions, underscoring the economy’s strong fundamentals despite a contraction in gross domestic product in the first quarter.

The unemployment rate remained unchanged at 3.6% in the month, while average hourly earnings increased 0.3% against a forecast of a 0.4% rise.

Nine of the 11 major S&P sectors declined. Energy had a 2.9% gain as oil prices climbed on supply concerns. [O/R]

“Oil is up again, continuing the inflationary worries that we are seeing and energy is bucking the trend of a very weak market. But the higher natural gas and crude oil prices have been tailwinds for the energy sector this year,” said Ryan Detrick, chief market strategist for LPL Financial.

Megacap growth stocks slipped, with a few exceptions including Apple Inc, which rose 0.5%. Wells Fargo & Co declined 0.5% to lead losses among big banks.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 98.6 points, or 0.3%, to 32,899.37, the S&P 500 lost 23.53 points, or 0.57%, to 4,123.34 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 173.03 points, or 1.4%, to 12,144.66.

Most traders are expecting a 75 basis-point hike at the U.S. central bank’s June meeting, despite Fed chief Jerome Powell’s ruling that out.[IRPR]

All eyes are on the monthly consumer price index inflation report on Wednesday, as investors seek clues to whether the economy is nearing a peak in inflation.

Under Armour Inc slumped 23.8% after the sportswear maker forecast downbeat fiscal 2023 profit. Shares of rival Nike Inc also slipped.

Coinbase Global Inc dropped 9% on Friday to the lowest level since the cryptocurrency exchange’s 2021 stock market debut.

Volume on U.S. exchanges was 13.49 billion shares, compared with the 12.10 billion average for the full session over the last 20 trading days.

Declining issues outnumbered advancing ones on the NYSE by a 2.49-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 3.04-to-1 ratio favored decliners.

The S&P 500 posted one new 52-week high and 63 new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 15 new highs and 799 new lows.

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