New York, U.S. stocks fell sharply Thursday after U.S. Federal Reserve (Fed) Chair Jerome Powell failed to reassure investors that the central bank would keep surging bond yields and inflation expectations under control.
The heavy losses pushed the Nasdaq into negative territory for 2021, and the technology-heavy index fell into correction territory, down more than 10 percent from its recent high.
In U.S. economic news, jobless claims rose slightly less than expected to an extremely high 745,000 last week, indicating continuing layoffs despite increasing Covid-19 vaccinations and an improving economy.
The U.S. dollar rose versus a basket of other currencies following Powell’s remarks. Gold dropped to near a nine-month low, pressured by gains in the dollar and Treasury yields after Powell’s comments. Gold futures fell 0.9 percent to $1,700.70 an ounce on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
Oil jumped after OPEC+ said the group would keep production largely steady through April. Saudi Arabia also said it would extend its 1 million barrel-per-day voluntary production cut into April. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures surged $2.49, or 4 percent, to $63.78 a barrel.
The Dow Jones industrial average fell 345.95, or 1.1 percent, to 30,924.14. Twenty-seven of the index’s 30 components declined, led by Intel and Home Depot, which dropped 2.6 and 2.5 percent, respectively. Walt Disney and Johnson & Johnson each lost at least 2 percent.
The broader Standard & Poor’s 500 index fell 51.23, or 1.3 percent, to 3,768.49.
The Nasdaq composite index fell 274.28, or 2.1 percent, to 12,723.47. Tesla plunged 4.9 percent, Netflix dropped 1.8 percent, Apple lost 1.6 percent, and Amazon declined 0.9 percent. Google-parent Alphabet gained 1.1 percent, and Facebook added 0.9 percent.
Source: Saudi Press Agency