Dow tumbles nearly 500 points, S&P 500 slides to 13-month low amid sea of losses in stocks

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By Vivien Lou Chen and William Watts

U.S. stocks remained sharply lower Monday afternoon, building on technical weakness following last week’s volatile price action, as investors fretted over stagflation threats after the Federal Reserve tightened policy to rein in surging price pressures.

What’s happening

Bitcoin continued to drop below the $35,000 level, more than 50% lower from its record high set in November.

What’s driving markets

Stocks continued to slump on Monday following the longest losing streak in years for all three major indexes last week. The Dow and S&P 500 each slipped 0.2% last week, while the technology-heavy Nasdaq fell 1.5%. It was the longest string of weekly losses for the Dow since May 2019, for the S&P 500 since June 2011, and for the Nasdaq since November 2012. Investors are assessing the risks of continued high inflation against the prospects of weakening growth, combined with the need of policy makers to continue lifting interest rates. While Fed Chairman Jerome Powell said the central bank was not actively considering a 75-basis-point rate hike, that isn’t likely to keep some corners of the market from pricing that in.

Read:Will Fed go too far? Dow’s violent swings put investors on lookout for recession signals

“The world remains a scary place for investors this year,” said Alejo Czerwonko of UBS Global Wealth Management. “We have been dealt with one negative shock after another, all taking a heavy toll on the global economic outlook.”

“The American Association of Individual Investors surveys its members weekly with a simple question: “What direction do you feel the stock market will take in the next six months?” Just 19% of respondents were bullish over the last month, the lowest four-week average in three decades,” Czerwonko wrote in a note Monday.Even analysts within BlackRock Inc, the world’s biggest asset manager, are slightly reducing their risk profile amid a worsening macroeconomic outlook. They now see little chance of a “perfect economic scenario.”Stock-market sentiment could be summed up in a single word, according to Daniel Tenengauzer, head of markets strategy and insights for BNY Mellon: “Bad,” he said via phone. Financial markets are in an even worse mood than they were in the 2008 global financial crisis, based on BNY’s own model, he says.

Earlier in the day, the 10-year Treasury yield briefly moved above 3.2%, before pulling back, while real or inflation-adjusted yields rose to their highest or least negative levels in more than two years.

A surge in yields is a negative for stocks, particularly tech and other growth shares because their valuations are based on profit and cash flow far into the future. Rising yield on risk-free Treasurys cuts the present value of those future flows.

Analysts said weak Chinese trade data contributed to pressure risky assets. Government customs data showed exports rose only 3.7% year-over-year in April, down sharply from growth of 15.7% in March, news reports said. Imports edged up just 0.7%, reflecting tepid demand.

The release of the April jobs report on Friday also did little to move the dial ahead of this Wednesday’s release of the consumer-price index, according to Peter Iosif, senior research analyst at Noteris.

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Companies in focus

What other assets are doing

—- Mike Murphy contributed to this article.

-Vivien Lou Chen


(END) Dow Jones Newswires

05-09-22 1410ET

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