Markets shudder on dashed inflation hopes; Dow down 1,000

Big tech stocks swoon more than the rest of the market

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange on Tuesday. — AP
Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange on Tuesday. — AP


Published: Tue 13 Sep 2022, 11:38 PM

Markets are shuddering following Wall Street’s sudden realisation that inflation isn’t slowing as much as hoped. The Dow dropped more than 1,000 points on Tuesday afternoon and the S&P 500 sank 3.6 per cent. The hotter-than-expected reading has traders bracing for the Federal Reserve to ultimately raise interest rates even higher than expected to combat inflation, with all the risks for the economy that entails.

Bond prices also tumbled, sending yields sharply higher, after the government reported inflation decelerated by less in August than economists had forecast. Some traders now even expect a mammoth rate hike next week of one full percentage point.

“Right now, it’s not the journey that’s a worry so much as the destination,” said Brian Jacobsen, senior investment strategist at Allspring Global Investments. “If the Fed wants to hike and hold, the big question is at what level.”

Big tech stocks swooned more than the rest of the market, as all 11 sectors that make up the S&P 500 sank.

Most of Wall Street came into the day thinking the Fed would hike its key short-term rate by a hefty three-quarters of a percentage point at its meeting next week. But the hope was that inflation was in the midst of quickly falling back to more normal levels after peaking in June at 9.1 per cent.

The thinking was that such a slowdown would let the Fed downshift the size of its rate hikes through the end of this year and then potentially hold steady through early 2023.

Tuesday’s report dashed some of those hopes. Many of the data points within it were worse than economists expected, including some the Fed pays particular attention to, such as inflation outside of food and energy prices.

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