Wall St falls as hot consumer prices data fuels inflation worries
Wall Street’s main indexes fell on Wednesday as a surge in U.S. consumer prices last month deepened fears that high inflation is here to stay amid supply chain snarls.
The Labor Department’s report also showed that in the 12 months through October the consumer price index increased 6.2%, the largest year-on-year advance since November 1990.
“Even though the Federal Reserve believes that inflation is transitory, the evidence is starting to add up that that’s not true,” said Rick Meckler, partner at Cherry Lane Investments In New Vernon, New Jersey.
“The Fed has made very few moves outside of what they’ve told the markets they plan to do, but I think even they’ve got to be a little concerned by the strength of the increase.”
The report comes a day after producer prices data showed a solid rise in October and highlights the extent to which manufacturers were passing on higher costs to consumers, whose spending accounts for 70% of the U.S. economy.
The CBOE Market Volatility index, a gauge for investor anxiety, shot up to its highest level in nearly one month earlier in the session.
Tesla Inc’s shares rose 2.9% after a shaky start to the day, lifting the S&P 500 consumer discretionary sector.
Investors also awaited the market debut of Amazon-backed electric-vehicle maker Rivian Automotive Inc, which was set to be valued at $107 billion and could potentially become the next big player in a sector dominated by Tesla.
Six of the 11 major S&P 500 sectors fell in early afternoon trading, with technology stocks pulled lower by a 1% decline in mega-cap companies Apple Inc and Microsoft Corp.
Wall Street’s main indexes ended their long streak of record closing highs on Tuesday as investors booked profits from the recent run-up in gains.
“We’ve just come off an epic rally over the last two weeks, so it’s just the nature of the market to sort of get that type of momentum and pull back,” said Sylvia Jablonski, chief investment officer at Defiance ETFs in New York.
Wednesday’s losses also came after data showed Chinese factory gate prices hit a 26-year high in October, while economic advisers to the German government said they expected the current rise in inflation to continue well into 2022.
At 12:26 p.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 62.51 points, or 0.17%, at 36,257.47, the S&P 500 was down 12.03 points, or 0.26%, at 4,673.22 and the Nasdaq Composite was down 96.61 points, or 0.61%, at 15,789.93.
Another report from the Labor Department showed initial claims for state unemployment benefits fell by 4,000 to a seasonally adjusted 267,000 last week.
Declining issues outnumbered advancers for a 1.24-to-1 ratio on the NYSE and a 1.42-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq. The S&P index recorded 25 new 52-week highs and three new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 73 new highs and 64 new lows.
(Reporting by Shreyashi Sanyal and Devik Jain in Bengaluru; Additional Reporting by Anisha Sircar; Editing by Aditya Soni)