The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 1.6%, closing at its lowest level since late 2020. The S&P 500 fell 1.7%, close to its 2022 low set in mid-June, while the Nasdaq slid 1.8%. The selling capped another rough week on Wall Street, leaving the major indexes with their fifth weekly loss in six weeks.
Unemployment dropped another notch, from 3.6% to 3.5%, matching the more than 50-year low reached just before the pandemic took hold.
The decline that the Commerce Department reported Thursday in the gross domestic product — the broadest gauge of the economy — followed a 1.6% annual drop from January through March. Consecutive quarters of falling GDP constitute one informal, though not definitive, indicator of a recession.
Growth appears to be sputtering, home sales are tumbling and economists warn of a potential recession ahead. But consumers are still spending, businesses keep posting profits and the economy keeps adding hundreds of thousands of jobs each month.
If you were planning to buy a new home, should you do it before rates rise again? What if you need to upgrade your car? And is it good to pay off your credit card completely, or should you carry a small balance to boost your credit score?
Consumer prices soared 9.1% compared with a year earlier, the government said Wednesday, the biggest yearly increase since 1981, and up from an 8.6% jump in May. From May to June, prices rose 1.3%, another huge increase, after prices had surged 1% from April to May.
The inflation rate reached 8.6% last month, the highest level in 40 years. Food and energy prices, in particular, have skyrocketed forcing the government to take action. The Federal Reserve is raising interest rates to bring down demand and this week President Joe Biden called on Congress to pause federal gas taxes for three months.
The central bank is ramping up its drive to tighten credit and slow growth with inflation having reached a four-decade high of 8.6%, spreading to more areas of the economy and showing no sign of slowing.
Consumer prices surged 8.6% last month from a year earlier, faster than April’s year-over-year increase of 8.3%, the Labor Department said Friday. The new inflation figure, the highest since 1981, will heighten pressure on the Federal Reserve to continue raising interest rates aggressively.
The S&P 500 rose 1.9%, with technology and financial sector stocks doing much of the heavy lifting for the benchmark index. The Dow Industrial Average rose 2% and the Nasdaq climbed 1.6%.
The substantial half-point hike in its benchmark short-term rate that the Federal Reserve announced Wednesday won’t, by itself, have much immediate effect on most Americans’ finances. But additional large hikes are expected to be announced at the Fed’s next two meetings, in June and July, and economists and investors foresee the fastest pace of rate increases since 1989.
The wilder action was in oil and Asian stock markets, where tightened anti-COVID measures in China are raising worries about demand for energy and about disruptions to manufacturing and global trade. Oil prices tumbled more than 8%, taking some pressure off the world’s high inflation, and a barrel of U.S. crude fell below $95 after starting the week above $109.
The stock market extended its three-week decline and put the benchmark S&P 500 on track for a so-called correction — a drop of 10% or more from its most recent high.
Economists are now voicing a more discouraging message: Higher prices will likely last well into next year, if not beyond.
The Federal Reserve signaled Wednesday that it may act sooner than previously planned to start dialing back the low-interest-rate policies that have helped fuel a swift rebound from the pandemic recession but have also coincided with rising inflation.
Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell underscored the U.S. economy’s ongoing weakness Tuesday in remarks that suggested that the Fed sees no need to alter its ultra-low interest rate policies anytime soon.