Dow drops 300 points, stocks finish lower as markets brace for next 'jumbo' Fed rate hike
By Joseph Adinolfi and William Watts
U.S. stocks finished lower on Tuesday as Treasury yields climbed and traders appeared skittish about opening new long positions ahead of the conclusion of the Federal Reserve's September policy meeting.
What drove markets
The next Federal Open Market Committee decision is looming over the market, as investors grapple not just with whether the central bank will make a 75 basis point rate increase or lift rates by 100 points, but also how high the Fed will signal rates will go in the future. The meeting started Tuesday and will conclude on Wednesday.
See:Why investors fear a full-percentage-point Fed rate hike would 'unnerve' Wall Street
In the interim, Callie Cox, U.S. investment analyst at eToro, said rising bond yields and a paucity of positive news have left U.S. equity benchmarks "wandering in no-man's-land" below their moving averages.
"There isn't much to hang on to and when selling starts, it tends to pile up," Cox said.
Read: Fed-funds rate could end up as high as 5%, says overseer of $1.3 trillion in assets
Meanwhile, Treasury yields, which move opposite to price, continued to march higher, with the rate on the 10-year note jumping 5 basis points to 3.538% to its highest level in more than a decade. The yield on the 2-year note briefly passed the 4% threshold. Rising yields can weigh on stocks, making government bonds appear more attractive relative to riskier assets like equities.
"Stock markets always watch the bond markets and the 10 year is now above 3.5%," Cox added.
Also see:Why rising Treasury yields are a drag on the stock market
Of course, the Fed isn't the only major central bank hiking interest rates to fight stubbornly high inflation. Sweden's Riksbank on Tuesday opted for a 100 basis point hike, and analysts expect at least a half-point rise when the Bank of England meets Thursday.
European central banks were particularly on edge after producer prices in Germany increased by more than 45% in August compared with the same period a year ago, news that may also be influencing U.S. markets.
All 11 S&P 500 sectors finished in the red on Tuesday, with real estate, materials and consumer discretionary shares seeing the biggest losses. As a result, the SPDR S&P Retail ETF (XRT), Materials Select Sector SPDR Fund and
The communications services sector is also on track to close at its lowest level since June 2020, which is largely a reflection of weakness in megacap tech stocks like Meta Platforms Inc. (META)and Alphabet Inc. (GOOGL), along with telecommunications giants like AT&T Inc. (T)and Verizon Communications Inc. (VZ)
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Data showed U.S. housing starts rose 12.2% in August after a revised 10.9% fall in July, while building permits dropped 10% in August.
Companies in focus
-- Steve Goldstein contributed reporting
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
September 20, 2022 16:23 ET (20:23 GMT)
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