Stocks dropped on Thursday, extending recent declines, as investors continued to fear that the Federal Reserve’s plan to tackle inflation at a four-decade high could spark a recession.
Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average retreated 140 points, or 0.4%, after the index lost 326 points on Wednesday to close at 31,834. S&P 500 futures signaled a start 0.6% into the red with the technology stock-heavy Nasdaq poised to slide 1%; the S&P 500 and Nasdaq tumbled 1.7% and 3.2% on Wednesday, respectively.
Market sentiment remains weak as the selloff in stocks continued Thursday, after Wednesday ushered in the worst five-day stretch for Dow industrials since June 2020. Amid historically high inflation, investors fear that the Federal Reserve will be pushed to act so aggressively to tame rising prices that it will cause a recession.
“Relentless,” said Neil Wilson, an analyst at broker Markets.com. “Stock markets continue to march lower, and the generals are now being shot,” he added, citing a 5% decline in the largest U.S. company, Apple (ticker: AAPL), on Wednesday.
Exacerbating worries were inflation data on Wednesday showing that the U.S. consumer price index (CPI) rose 8.3% year-over-year last month, above expectations of 8.1% but down from March’s 8.5% annual surge.
“It was all about the higher than expected U.S. CPI report yesterday which added to Fed rate expectations, as well as hard landing expectations,” said Jim Reid, a strategist at Deutsche Bank . “What will concern the Fed is that there are plenty of signs that inflation pressures remain broad and can’t be pinned on transitory shocks like the spike in energy prices of late.”
The selloff was even more marked in the digital asset space, where Bitcoin, the largest cryptocurrency, fell 7% over the past 24 hours to $28,000, dipping below $26,000 in the trough of volatile trading. Bitcoin hasn’t consistently traded this low since late 2020. Many smaller cryptocurrencies notched losses of 25% over the past 24 hours.
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