US stocks sink over 2% as Fed officials eye rate hike
Wall Street stocks suffered their sharpest losses Friday since the Brexit vote after Federal Reserve officials signaled the US central bank could hike interest rates as soon as this month.
The losses were broad-based, hitting industrials and energy shares especially hard, after Boston Fed President Eric Rosengren said in a speech that higher rates were needed to prevent the economy from overheating.
A second Fed official, Governor Daniel Tarullo, signaled openness to a rate hike in 2016 in an interview with CNBC.
“Given the European Central Bank commentary yesterday as well as some Fed speakers today, it appears more likely that the Fed and the world is closer to lessening the amount of easy money,” said David Levy, portfolio manager at Republic Wealth Advisors.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell nearly 400 points, or 2.1 percent to 18,085.45.
The broad-based S&P 500 shed 2.5 percent to 2,127.81, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index dropped 2.5 percent at 5,125.91.
US stocks have rallied to records in the last two months after plunging following the June 23 British vote to exit the European Union.
But analysts have cautioned that a correction was possible given the importance of central bank-generated liquidity to the stock market gains.
Industrial companies Boeing, Caterpillar and General Electric all shed 3 percent or more, while oil giant Chevron fell 2.7 percent and ExxonMobil 2.5 percent.
Technology shares were also generally weak, with Apple shedding 2.3 percent, Facebook 2.4 percent and Twitter 3.2 percent.
Large banks generally outperformed, with higher rates from the Federal Reserve expected to boost their lending margins. Bank of America and JPMorgan Chase shares kept losses to under 1.0 percent.
But Wells Fargo slumped 2.4 percent a day after regulators fined the banking giant more than $185 million due to allegations the bank secretly opened millions of fake accounts without customers’ knowledge.
General Motors sank 3.9 percent after it issued a recall notice for 4.3 million cars and trucks worldwide due to a dangerous electronic fault that could prevent airbag deployment in an accident.
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