The week on Wall St.
Hawkish comments by Fed Chair Jerome Powell, following the announcement of another 75 basis points interest rate hike last week, cast a pall over financial markets, sending yields higher and stocks lower.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average slipped 1.40%, while the Standard & Poor’s 500 declined 3.35%. The Nasdaq Composite index lost 5.65% for the week. The MSCI EAFE index, which tracks developed overseas stock markets, fell 1.04%.1,2,3
The official statement released following the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting appeared to suggest a potential for future easing of interest rates. Investors cheered the news, sending stocks higher. But the optimism was crushed 30 minutes later on hawkish comments by Fed Chair Powell during his post-meeting press conference.
Losses accelerated into Thursday, led by technology names, which were under pressure due to rising bond yields. The yield on the two-year Treasury note rose to its highest level since 2007. The sentiment took damage from workforce reduction/freeze news from multiple technology companies; some considered it a sign of a pending recession. Stocks managed to erase some of the week’s losses on Friday following a strong employment report and a drop in the U.S. dollar.4
From Dove To Hawk In 30 Minutes
In the statement accompanying the 75 basis point rate increase, the FOMC said that future increases would consider the cumulative monetary tightening to date and the lag in impact such tightening involves.5
But in his post-meeting press conference, Fed Chair Powell struck a more hawkish tone. He said that current inflation data did not support any slowdown in rate increases and that the terminal rate (the point at which rates will no longer rise) may be higher than initially expected.6
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