US stocks drop after hot inflation data

NEW YORK: US stocks fell on Friday as a hotter-than-expected inflation report rattled Wall Street, reported Xinhua.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 336.99 points, or 1.02 per cent, to 32,816.92. The S&P 500 sank 42.28 points, or 1.05 per cent, to 3,970.04. The Nasdaq Composite Index shed 195.46 points, or 1.69 per cent, to 11,394.94.

Nine of the 11 primary S&P 500 sectors ended in red, with real estate and technology down 1.81 per cent and 1.77 per cent, respectively, leading the laggards. Materials and financials rose 0.65 per cent and 0.11 per cent, respectively.

The market weakness came as hotter-than-expected US personal consumption expenditures (PCE) data added to fears that the Federal Reserve will hold interest rates higher for longer in order to curb price pressures.

The US Commerce Department reported Friday that the headline PCE price index rose 0.6 per cent in January for a 5.4 per cent year-on-year increase. The core PCE inflation, which excludes food and energy, rose 0.6 per cent for a 4.7 per cent year-on-year increase. The readings were higher than estimates.

Earlier this week, the Fed’s most recent policy meeting minutes reaffirmed tough stance on inflation.

With inflation still “well above” the Fed’s 2 per cent goal and the labour market remaining “very tight,“ Fed members continued to anticipate that ongoing increases in the target range for the federal funds rate would be appropriate, stated the filing.

For the week, the Dow fell 3 per cent, the S&P 500 decreased 2.7 per cent, and the technology-heavy Nasdaq Composite slid 3.3 per cent. – Bernama