Updated at 11:33 am EST
U.S. stocks were mixed in mid-day Thursday trading, potentially pulling the Dow into its sixth consecutive slump, as investors continue to shed risk assets in markets around the world amid renewed concerns that central bank tightening, as well as surging inflation, will blunt growth prospects for the global economy.
Mega-cap tech stocks lead declines on Wall Street yesterday, with Apple (AAPL) – Get Apple Inc. Report falling another 5.25% and into bear market territory, as a faster-than-expected reading for core inflation in April revived sharper Fed rate bets and hammered risk assets.
Bitcoin’s ongoing slump only added to the malaise, with prices for the world’s biggest cryptocurrency falling again in overnight trading to a one-year low of $26.750.90 each in overnight trading amid the collapse of the TerraUSD stablecoin.
Tech isn’t the only concern for the market at present, however, as the CBOE’s key volatility gauge, the VIX, climbs back to early March levels, rising 0.35% to 32.66 points in early hours trading, ensuring another session of wild swings on Wall Street Thursday.
Slowing growth in Europe, where Britain’s economy contracted in March and looks likely to slip into recession over the coming months, added to investor woes, pushing investors into the arms of safe-haven assets such as U.S. Treasury bonds, which drove yields down to 2.857% on benchmark 10-year notes – a near 26 basis point rally from levels seen earlier this week.
Still, while bets on a 75 basis point rate hike have been sharply reduced as a result of the recent market slump, the CME Group’s FedWatch tool still suggests a 5.1% chance for the June meeting.
In other markets, the U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its global currency peers, rose 0.8% to a new 20-year high of 104.673 in another example of ‘risk-off’ sentiment in world stocks.
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The surging U.S. dollar added downward pressure on oil prices, which rallied hard yesterday after the Energy Department said inventories at the Strategic Petroleum Reserve fell by a record 7 million barrels last week to a May 2001 low of 543 million barrels.
WTI crude futures for June delivery were last seen $1.42 lower at $107.16 per barrel while Brent futures for July fell 89 cents to $108.40 per barrel.
On Wall Street, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was marked 152 points lower by mid-day trading while the S&P 500, which is down 17.44% for the year, was marked 6 points lower
The Nasdaq was up 55 points, trimming the tech-focused benchmark’s year-to-date decline to around 27%.
Dow component Walt Disney (DIS) – Get Walt Disney Company Report shares slumped 5% to a two-year low after the media and entertainment giant cautioned that surging inflation and supply-chain snarls could blunt near-term profits, casting a cloud over a better-than-expected tally of subscriber addition to its Disney+ streaming service.
Beyond Meat (BYND) – Get Beyond Meat, Inc. Report shares plunged 13% after the plant-based food producer posted a wider-than-expected first quarter loss as marketing and new product launch costs hollowed-out the impact of impressive volume growth.
Apple shares fell 3.3%, extending the decline from its all-time high on January 3 to around 21%, as its key Taiwan-based assembler, Foxconn, cautioned that chip shortages and slumping demand would hit current quarter revenues.
Foxconn, the world’s biggest electronics manufacturer that is formally known as Hon Hai Precision Industry Co Ltd., posted a 5% rise in March quarter profits of around $985 billion, but said June quarter revenues, as well as those into the end of the year, would largely stagnate as a result of supply chain disruptions, China’s Covid lockdowns and slowing smartphone demand.