FILE PHOTO: A person pushes a shopping cart in a supermarket in Manhattan, New York City, U.S., March 28, 2022. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly
By Caroline Valetkevitch
NEW YORK (Reuters) — U.S. stocks posted their biggest weekly percentage declines since January and ended sharply lower on the day Friday as a steeper-than-expected rise in U.S. consumer prices in May fueled fears of more aggressive interest rate hikes by the Federal Reserve.
Tech and growth stocks, whose valuations rely more heavily on future cash flows, led the decline. Microsoft Corp (NASDAQ:MSFT), Amazon.com Inc (NASDAQ:AMZN) and Apple Inc (NASDAQ:AAPL) drove losses in the S&P 500.
Following the inflation report, two-year Treasury yields, which are highly sensitive to rate hikes, spiked to 3.057%, the highest since June 2008. Benchmark 10-year yields reached 3.178%, the highest since May 9.
The U.S. Labor Department’s report showed the consumer price index (CPI) increased 1.0% last month after gaining 0.3% in April. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast the monthly CPI picking up 0.7%.
Year-on-year, CPI surged 8.6%, its biggest gain since 1981 and following an 8.3% jump in May.
Stocks have been volatile this year, and recent selling has largely been tied to worries over inflation, rising interest rates and the likelihood of a recession.
«Today’s report should extinguish any pretense that a ‘pause’ in rate hikes will likely be appropriate by the end of summer, as the Fed is clearly still behind the eight ball on bringing inflation under control,» said Jason Pride, chief investment officer for private wealth at Glenmede in Philadelphia.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 880 points, or 2.73%, to 31,392.79; the S&P 500 lost 116.96 points, or 2.91%, to 3,900.86; and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 414.20 points, or 3.52%, to 11,340.02.
The major indexes registered their biggest weekly percentage drops since the week ended Jan. 21, with the Dow down 4.58%, the S&P 500 down 5.06% and the Nasdaq down 5.60% for the week.
The S&P 500 is now down 18.2% for the year so far.
On Friday, the S&P 500 growth index took a 3.7% hit, while the value index fell 2.2%.
The inflation report was published ahead of an anticipated second 50 basis points rate hike from the Fed on Wednesday. A further half-percentage-point is priced in for July, with a strong chance of a similar move in September.
One worry is that an aggressive push higher on rates by the Fed could send the economy into recession.
Among the day’s losers, Netflix Inc (NASDAQ:NFLX) slid 5.1% after Goldman downgraded the streaming video giant’s stock to «sell» from «neutral» due to a possibly weaker macro environment.
Declining issues outnumbered advancing ones on the NYSE by a 5.70-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 4.05-to-1 ratio favored decliners.
The S&P 500 posted one new 52-week high and 44 new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 17 new highs and 326 new lows.
Volume on U.S. exchanges was 12.62 billion shares, compared with the 11.88 billion average for the full session over the last 20 trading days.