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Wall St slips as hawkish rate view, labor data fuel worries

U.S. stock indexes slipped on Thursday after a broad-based recovery in the previous session as Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell’s hawkish comments cemented bets of another large interest rate hike later this month.


The Fed is “strongly committed” to controlling inflation but there remains hope it can be done without the “very high social costs” involved in prior inflation fights, Powell said in comments at a Cato Institute conference.


“Clearly he’s maintained his existing hawkish tone, and markets still seem to be surprised, so they’re selling off of it,” said Randy Frederick, managing director of trading and derivatives for Charles Schwab in Austin, Texas.


Wall Street’s main indexes climbed the most in about a month on Wednesday as bond yields retreated after a recent surge that was driven by expectations of higher interest rates. Still, the benchmark S&P 500 remains nearly 8% away from its August peak and is down about 17% year-to-date.


Hawkish remarks from Fed officials and recent data signaling strength in the U.S. economy have pushed money markets to bet that the Fed will hike interest rates by 75 basis points at this month’s meeting. Fed fund futures implied traders were pricing in an almost 90% chance of such a move.


Goldman Sachs, too, raised its policy rate forecast to a 75 basis point hike this month from 50 basis points previously.


Data showed the number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits fell last week to a three-month low, underscoring the robustness of the labor market even as the Fed raises interest rates.


Concerns over a recession, stirred by aggressive central bank rate hikes and signs of economic slowdown in China and Europe have dented the appetite for risk assets globally this year.


The European Central Bank raised its key interest rates by an unprecedented 75 basis points on Thursday and signaled further hikes. That follows large rate hikes from the Bank of Canada and the Reserve Bank of Australia earlier this week.


At 10:02 a.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 103.90 points, or 0.33%, at 31,477.38, the S&P 500 was down 10.81 points, or 0.27%, at 3,969.06, and the Nasdaq Composite was down 32.85 points, or 0.28%, at 11,759.05.


Eight of the 11 major S&P sectors were lower, with consumer staples and communication services leading losses. Financials rose 0.5%, tracking gains in yields.


GameStop Corp rose 2.7% after the video game retailer reported a smaller-than-expected quarterly loss.


American Eagle Outfitters Inc slumped 9.6% after the retailer missed second-quarter profit estimates and said it would pause quarterly dividend as it fortifies its finances against a hit from inflation.


Chipmaker Micron Technology Inc slipped 4.8% after cutting its 2023 forecast for supply of its memory chips, while U.S.-listed shares of Grab Holdings Ltd jumped 4.2% after the ride-hailing and food delivery firm bumped up its 2022 revenue forecast.


Declining issues outnumbered advancers for a 2.10-to-1 ratio on the NYSE and for a 2.41-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.


The S&P index recorded one new 52-week high and two new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 33 new highs and 56 new lows.


Chinese leader Xi Jinping and U.S. President Joe Biden met on Monday for long-awaited talks that come as relations between their countries are at their lowest in decades, marred by disagreements over a host of issues from Taiwan to trade.


Among other stocks, Biogen Inc BIIB.O and Eli Lilly LLY.N gained 3.4% and 1.4%, respectively, after the failure of Swiss rival Roche’s ROG.S Alzheimer’s disease drug candidate.


Theater operator AMC Entertainment AMC.O jumped 6.5% as Marvel’s latest film “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” grossed $330 million globally in its opening weekend,

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