Wall Street ended a hectic week of trading on Friday with a broad slide in stocks that left the major indexes in the red for the week.
The S&P 500 closed 1.3% lower, snapping a four-week winning streak. Shares of more than 80% of companies in the benchmark fell, with technology stocks driving much of the pullback.
The Nasdaq tech composite fell 2%, also ending four weeks of gains. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.9% to finish slightly in the red for the week. Small-cap stocks also lost ground, sending the Russell 2000 index down 2.2%.
Friday marked the biggest sell-off in the market, including the S&P 500’s biggest drop in more than seven weeks, after a solid run of weekly gains. The market’s strong rally in July and early August followed better-than-expected corporate earnings and signs that the economy is slowing, possibly setting the stage for less aggressive rate hikes, the main tool of the Federal Reserve to control rising inflation.
Minutes from the central bank’s interest rate policy meeting last month and recent statements from Fed officials seemed to indicate that the Fed may not yet be ready to ease its pace of rate hikes, said Quincy Krosby, chief equity strategist at LPL Financial.
“This put the market on notice that the market may have to contend with a Fed that continues to raise rates at a steady pace and may not stop and take its foot off the pedal,” he said.
This gave traders “the perfect excuse to finally start burning” some of the market’s recent gains.
The S&P 500 fell 55.26 points to 4,227.48. It ended with a 1.2% loss for the week and is now down 11.3% so far this year.
The Dow fell 292.30 points to 33,706.74, while the Nasdaq fell 260.13 points to 12,705.22. The Russell 2000 lost 43.38 points to 1,957.35.
Tech stocks had some of the biggest losses, and the sector’s decline weighed heavily on the broader market. Microsoft fell 1.4%.
Retailers, banks and communications companies also fell sharply amid the broad decline.
Stock of memes Bed bath and beyond plunged 40.5% after high-profile activist investor Ryan Cohen confirmed he has sold his stake in the company.
Cryptocurrencies fell broadly as Bitcoin fell 8.5% to $21,370, according to CoinDesk.
Bright spots include General Motors, which rose 2.5% after reinstating its dividend. Foot Locker soared 20% after replacing its CEO and reporting earnings that beat Wall Street estimates.
Bond yields gained ground, reflecting expectations of further interest rate hikes. The 10-year Treasury yield rose to 2.97% from 2.89% late Thursday.
Traders had no shortage of business and economic data to review this week, including the latest batch of retailer earnings and updates on spending, home sales and the labor market.
A retail sales report This week showed that spending remains resilient as gas prices fall and help ease some inflationary pressure.
Wall Street is trying to determine how stubbornly hot inflation affects businesses and consumers and whether the economy can remain resilient and avoid a recession.
Data from government and corporate reports are also being watched closely as investors try to determine how the Federal Reserve will continue with its plan to fight inflation by raising interest rates. The goal is to raise rates and slow economic growth to cool inflation. But the central bank is walking a fine line between taming inflation in an already slowing economy and holding back too hard and sending the economy into recession.
minutes from the Fed’s July meeting released this week said inflation is still too high and made clear the central bank will continue to raise interest rates. The central bank has raised interest rates twice this year by 0.75 percentage points, triple its usual margin. Forecasters currently expect a rise of half a percentage point at the next council meeting.
Wall Street will be watching closely next week’s speech by Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell at an annual conference in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.
“The question is, does he engage the market with his assessment of the direction of inflation, the progress the Fed is making, and offer any suggestions on the direction of rate hikes?” Krosby said.
Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.