US stocks fell on Friday and the Dow Jones Industrial Average had its worst week since January, when economic comeback games led the market sell-off after the Federal Reserve stepped up its rate hike plan.
The blue chip average fell 450 points, bringing its losses to 3.3% for the week. The S&P 500 was down 1%, pushing its loss to more than 1.5% this week. The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite lost 0.6%.
Stocks escalated losses when St. Louis Fed President Jim Bullard said on CNBC that it was natural for the Fed to go a little “hawkish” this week and that the central bank’s first rate hike likely in the year Would take place in 2022.
The market slide began after the Federal Reserve added two rate hikes to its 2023 forecast on Wednesday afternoon and raised its inflation forecast for the year.
Parts of the market most sensitive to the economic recovery sold off this week. The S&P 500 energy and industrials are both down nearly 4% this week, while financials and commodities are down over 5%. These groups had been market leaders that year as the economy reopened.
The decline in stocks came when the Fed’s actions led to a drastic flattening of the so-called Treasury yield curve. This means that the yields of government bonds with shorter duration, such as the 2-year bond, have increased, while the yields with longer duration, such as the 10-year benchmark, have decreased. The decline in long-dated bonds reflects less optimism about economic growth, while the rise in yields at the short end shows expectations of a rate hike by the Fed.
This phenomenon is particularly damaging to bank stocks, as banks’ profits could plummet if the spread between short-term and long-term rates narrowed. Goldman Sachs stocks fell more than 1% on Friday, while JPMorgan and Morgan Stanley fell 2% each.
Fed chief Jerome Powell said Wednesday that officials had talked about curbing bond purchases and would eventually begin slowing asset purchases.
“Investors may interpret the Fed’s restrictive bias on Wednesday as a sign that extensive post-pandemic US economic expansion may be a little more difficult to achieve in what may be an emerging environment of less accommodating monetary policy,” Goldman Sachs’ Chris Hussey said in a note .
Most commodity prices rebounded somewhat on Friday after falling sharply this week as China tries to cool rising prices and the US dollar strengthened. Copper, gold and platinum futures prices rebounded on Friday but were still down sharply during the week.
Chip stocks that have had a good week behind them are likely to resume their run on Friday, with Nvidia stocks up about 1%.
Adobe shares rose about 3% after earnings and sales topped estimates.
Friday also coincides with the quarterly “Quadruple Witching”, during which options and futures on indices and stocks expire. Many expect more volatile trading in the face of this event.