US stocks fall in volatile session after inflation in April eases by less than expected

US stocks fall in volatile session after inflation in April eases by less than expected
The index for airline fares soared 18.6% in April's inflation report.Mario Tama/Getty Images
  • US stocks resumed a sell-off Wednesday, led by a 3% decline in the Nasdaq.
  • Inflation in April rose to 8.3%, more than the 8.1% estimated in a Bloomberg survey of economists.

Stocks fell Wednesday and resumed a sell-off after the US April inflation reading showed signs of prices cooling but not by enough to convince the Federal Reserve to back away from aggressive rate hikes.

The S&P 500 logged its fourth loss in five sessions and the Nasdaq Composite fell by more than 3%. The indexes along with the Dow Jones Industrial Average darted into positive territory but eventually lost ground. On Tuesday, the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq halted a three-day sell-off.

Stocks fell in Wednesday's session after the Bureau of Labor Statistics said the Consumer Price Index climbed 8.3% in the year through April. Economists surveyed by Bloomberg expected the inflation gauge to rise by 8.1%. The reading was slower than the 8.5% rate in March that marked a 41-year high.

April core inflation, which strips out volatile food and energy prices, rose 0.6% month over month, higher than the consensus estimate of 0.4%. An index of airfares soared by nearly 19%, the largest one-month increase since that series started in 1963, said BLS.

"So, with elevated volatility and significant declines in markets, as well as slowing economic growth and rising concerns over a possible recession, the question that faces the Fed (and investors) is how far will the central bank be willing to go to tame inflation which is stickier and more structural (including higher wages)?," Rick Rieder, chief investment officer of global fixed income at BlackRock, the world's largest asset manager, wrote in a note.


Here's where US indexes stood at 4:00 p.m. on Wednesday:

"Getting to a neutral policy stance in unquestionably necessary, but the Fed would do well to pause and take stock of the impact of its policies at that stage, since the unintended consequences of excessive tightening would be good to avoid," Rieder wrote.

The Fed has raised interest rates by 75 basis points since March to a range of 0.75% to 1% in a bid to combat high inflation. Stocks have dropped this year largely with investors concerned that more large Fed rate hikes that quickly push up borrowing costs will pull the world's largest economy into a recession.

Around the markets, Bank of America says small cap stocks have mostly priced in a recession and are the cheapest in 11 years, while bigger names are set up for more downside ahead.

Coinbase tumbled after the trading platform for stocks and crypto missed analyst estimates with its first-quarter results.


Algorithmic stablecoin TerraUSD slid as low as $0.30 as traders warned of a "death spiral" in an asset that's set up to be pegged to the dollar.

Oil prices jumped. West Texas Intermediate crude rose 5.6% to $105.33 per barrel. Brent crude, the international benchmark, gained 4.5% to $107.04.

Gold turned higher, rising 0.6% to $1,851.90 per ounce. The 10-year yield turned lower, falling 8 basis points to 2.92%.

Bitcoin fell 3.7% to $29,822.36.