Stocks

Wall Street skids on inflation fears; USD, bond yields jump

Reuters NEW YORK | Updated on May 13, 2021

S&P 500 in biggest one-day decline in 2-1/2 months

US stocks suffered the biggest slump in at least 11 weeks on Wednesday and benchmark Treasury yields jumped after data showed consumer prices in April unexpectedly rose by the highest level in nearly 12 years, prompting bets on earlier interest rate hikes.

A 0.8% jump in the US consumer price index - outpacing a 0.2% forecast - boosted the US dollar as expectations ofrising real interest rates burnished the currency's appeal.

The gyrations in financial markets underscored concerns among some investors that the Federal Reserve could be wrong inits prediction that inflation pressures in the United States are temporary, and that the central bank may have to raise rates sooner than it expects.

The prospect of tighter monetary policy knocked shares lower and the stock market steadily extended losses through the day.The Dow Jones Industrial Average shed 2%, the S&P 500 dropped 2.1%, and the Nasdaq Composite lost 2.7%.

For the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq Composite Index, Wednesday's tumble was the biggest fall in a single day since Feb. 25, while the Dow's decline was the sharpest in a day since Jan 29.

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DOLLAR GAINS

Weakness on Wall Street mirrored stock market losses in Asia, as surging commodity prices stoked inflation concerns. MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan had slumped 0.95% overnight, after hitting its lowest level since March 26.

European shares fared better. London's blue-chip FTSE 100 rebounded 0.8% as buoyant corporate earnings and a better-than-expected economic growth report bolstered hopes about a sharp recovery from the pandemic-driven recession.

In the United States, the surprisingly strong inflation data lifted Treasury yields. The benchmark 10-year Treasury yieldjumped to 1.6952%, its biggest rise in a day sinceMarch 18, and the two-year Treasury yield also roseto stand at 0.1668%.

The dollar, which could benefit from rising real interest rates, gained after wobbling briefly earlier in the day.

The dollar index, which measures the greenback against six major currencies, rose 0.65% to 90.795.

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Published on May 13, 2021

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