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Stocks Sink on Earnings, Growth Fears

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U.S. stocks posted the biggest daily drop in almost two years as investors assess the impact of higher prices on earnings and prospects for monetary policy tightening on economic growth. The dollar and Treasuries gained amid a pickup in haven bids.

The selloff sent the S&P 500 down 4%, with the plunge in consumer shares surpassing 6%.

Target Corp. tumbled more than 20% in its worst rout since 1987, after trimming its profit forecast due to a surge in costs. Shares of retailers from Walmart Inc. to Macy’s Inc. were caught in the downdraft.

The Nasdaq 100 fell the most among major benchmarks, dropping more than 5% as growth-related tech stocks sank. Megacaps Apple Inc. and Inc. slid at least 5%.

Treasuries rose across the board, sending the 10- and 30-year Treasury yields down as much as 11 basis points. The dollar rose against all of its Group-of-10 counterparts, except the yen and Swiss franc. Gold caught bids in the move into havens.

The benchmark S&P 500 is emerging from the longest weekly slump since 2011, but any rebounds in risk sentiment are proving fragile amid tightening monetary settings, Russia’s war in Ukraine and China’s Covid lockdowns.

In some of his most hawkish remarks to date, Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell said Tuesday that the US central bank will raise interest rates until there is “clear and convincing” evidence that inflation is in retreat.

Chicago Fed President Charles Evans said Wednesday he sees a half-point rate increase at next month’s meeting and “probably thereafter.”

Global technology stocks are now valued like staples peers.


“Stocks are getting hammered as inflation fears and weak earnings hit market sentiment hard,” Fiona Cincotta at City Index said in an email. “While strong retail sales helped boost stocks yesterday, disappointing quarterly numbers from retail giants Target and Lowe’s are striking fear into the market today. The data yesterday suggests that consumers are weathering the inflation hit for now. Retailers, however, are not doing so well at navigating through soaring input costs.”

“Worries over inflation and a hawkish Fed are nothing new, but now add in worries over profit margins and the impact of inflation on the consumer and you have the recipe for a big down day,” Ryan Detrick, chief market strategist at LPL Financial, said in a note.

“We are pricing in a growth scare,” Lori Calvasina at RBC Capital Markets told Bloomberg TV. “The market is trying to find a bottom here. There is a lot of uncertainty in this market right now about whether or not that recession is going to come through or if it’s going to be another near-death experience.”

What we’re seeing this week from big box retailers could be a clue as to what a recession might feel like for markets overall,” said Mike Bailey, director of research at FBB Capital Partners. “We’re seeing consumers vote with their wallets on what they value most, and we are seeing winners and losers emerge.”

“The threat to asset prices is broad-based inflation pushing central banks to tighten monetary policy even more rapidly,” Carl Ludwigson at Bel Air Investment Advisors said in a note. “If the Federal Reserve’s policy response proves too aggressive, then Treasuries and high-quality municipal bonds will again be the place to hide as tighter financial conditions lead to demand destruction.”

In Europe, new-vehicle sales shrank for a 10th month in a row as the industry remains mired in supply-chain crises, while euro-area inflation plateaued at a record high. Meanwhile, UK inflation rose to its highest level since Margaret Thatcher was prime minister 40 years ago, adding to pressure for action from the government and central bank.

Elsewhere, the Biden administration is poised to fully block Russia’s ability to pay US bondholders after a deadline expires next week, a move that could bring Moscow closer to a default.

Sri Lanka, meantime, is on the brink of reneging on $12.6 billion of overseas bonds, a warning sign to investors in other developing nations that surging inflation is set to take a painful toll.

Some of the main moves in markets:


  • The S&P 500 fell 4% as of 4 p.m. New York time.
  • The Nasdaq 100 fell 5.1%.
  • The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 3.6%.
  • The MSCI World index fell 2.7%.


  • The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index rose 0.4%.
  • The euro fell 0.8% to $1.0465.
  • The British pound fell 1.2% to $1.2341.
  • The Japanese yen rose 0.9% to 128.27 per dollar.


  • The yield on 10-year Treasuries declined nine basis points to 2.89%.
  • Germany’s 10-year yield declined two basis points to 1.03%.
  • Britain’s 10-year yield declined two basis points to 1.86%.


  • West Texas Intermediate crude fell 2.7% to $109.31 a barrel.
  • Gold futures fell 0.2% to $1,815 an ounce.


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