Dow falls 543 points as US stocks slide ahead of important February jobs report
- US stocks sank on Thursday as investors brace for Friday's key February jobs report.
- Investors are pricing in higher odds that the Fed dials rate hikes back up to 50 basis points later this month.
US stocks sank on Thursday as investors braced themselves for Friday's February jobs report.
Major indexes gained early in the day on softer labor market data in the form of higher than expected jobless claims, data which could help influence the Fed to keep its next rate hike small. Claims rose 21,000 to 211,000 over the last week, the largest surge in five months.
Stocks, however, reversed course to slide in afternoon trading, with the Dow losing over 500 points as investors turned their focus to Friday's non-farm payrolls report.
Markets are betting that a 50 basis-point rate increase is likely at the March meeting of the Federal Open Market Committee following Fed Chair Jerome Powell's testimony to Congress this week, in which the top central banker struck a hawkish tone on inflation and future rate hikes.
Meanwhile, financials took a beating on Thursday, with bank stocks plunging after implosions at Silicon Valley Bank and Silvergate Capital rattled the sector. JPMorgan, Bank of America, and Wells Fargo fell more than 5% on Thursday, while SVB Financial plummeted as much as 60% after announcing it would try to raise capital following steep losses on the sale of a bond portfolio.
Here's where US indexes stood at the 4 p.m. closing bell on Thursday:
- S&P 500: 3,918.41, down 1.84%
- Dow Jones Industrial Average: 32,255.39, down 1.66% (543.01 points)
- Nasdaq Composite: 11,338.35, down 2.05%
Here's what else is going on:
- The European Union announced it will expand its LNG import capacity by nearly a third as it weans itself off of Russian energy supplies.
- Stocks could crash 30% in 60 days, according to one markets guru.
- The S&P 500 could fall 20% this year as the stage is set for higher interest rates, JPMorgan said.
- The most closely watched recession indicator is flashing signs that a downturn won't happen until 2025, according to Credit Suisse's chief stock strategist.
- Economist Jeremy Siegel says the Fed is "monomaniacal" about raising unemployment, and it's making a big mistake with inflation.
- The labor market is so tight, it's easier to fly in construction workers on a private jet, according to one Montana builder.
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