NEW YORK, RAW – Wall Street closed sharply lower as investors started the holiday-shortened week in a risk-off mood, as rising bond yields weighed on market-leading growth stocks ahead of crucial inflation data.
All three major US stock indexes ended deep in negative territory, with tech and tech-adjacent stocks pulling the Nasdaq down 2.2 per cent.
“There’s been two kinds of sell-offs in the past month or two,” said Peter Tuz, president of Chase Investment Counsel in Charlottesville, Virginia. “There’s the rising yields which primarily affects tech and other growth stocks, and then there’s the recession/economic slowdown sell-off that affects energy and various materials’ names.
“Today you’re seeing both.”
The benchmark 10-year US Treasury yield hovered near a three-year high ahead of key inflation data expected on Tuesday.
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The US Federal Reserve has vowed to aggressively tackle scorching inflation, and market participants largely expect a series of 50-basis-point interest rate hikes from the central bank in the coming months.
“All eyes on an inflation number that’s probably going to be the highest in 40 years, which could prompt higher and more frequent (interest) rate hikes from the Fed,” Tuz added.
The Labor Department’s CPI report expected on Tuesday for any sign the inflation wave has crested. Analysts expect the report will show an 8.5 per cent year-on-year growth in consumer prices, the hottest reading since 1981.
Ongoing geopolitical strife also helped prompt the flight to safety.
Ukraine said it expected Russia to launch a huge new offensive soon as the most serious conflict in Europe since the Balkan wars of the 1990s wore on, despite ongoing peace negotiations.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 413.04 points, or 1.19 per cent, to 34,308.08, the S&P 500 lost 75.75 points, or 1.69 per cent, to 4,412.53 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 299.04 points, or 2.18 per cent, to 13,411.96.
All 11 major sectors in the S&P 500 ended the session in the red, with energy shares suffering the biggest percentage losses.
First-quarter earnings season bursts through the starting gate later this week, with big banks leading the way.
Analysts have curbed their first-quarter optimism. On aggregate, annual S&P 500 earnings growth is estimated to be 6.1 per cent, down from 7.5 per cent at the beginning of the year.
Twitter Inc advanced 1.7 per cent after its biggest shareholder, Tesla Inc Chairman Elon Musk rejected the social media company’s offer to join its board of directors.
As for Tesla, data showed sales of its electric vehicles plunged in China last month due to that country’s efforts to curb COVID-19 outbreaks, sending its shares down 4.8 per cent.
Media and streaming firm Warner Bros Discovery Inc, formed from the $US43 billion ($A58 billion) merger of Discovery Inc and assets of AT&T Inc, whipsawed in its first day of trading, ending up 1.4 per cent.
Nvidia Corp slid 5.2 per cent after Baird downgraded the chipmaker’s stock to “neutral” from “outperform,” citing order cancellations and potential demand slowdown.
Falling crude prices helped keep commercial air carriers aloft. The S&P 1500 Airline index rose 2.7 per cent.
Chinese regulators approved its first gaming licence since July of last year, boosting US-listed shares of DouYu International Holdings, Huya, NetEase Inc and Bilibili by between 2.1 per cent and 7.2 per cent.
Declining issues outnumbered advancing ones on the NYSE by a 2.64-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 2.08-to-1 ratio favoured decliners.
The S&P 500 posted 34 new 52-week highs and 10 new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 37 new highs and 306 new lows.
Volume on US exchanges was 11.03 billion shares, compared with the 12.71 billion average over the last 20 trading days.