US stocks were down on Friday afternoon as investors continued to digest hawkish remarks from Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell. On Thursday, the Fed Chair said the possibility of a 50 basis point rate hike in May was “on the table”, comments that saw markets react with yet another negative close.
Friday saw Wall Street struggle with further sell-off pressure with the major indexes poised for another negative return on the weekly log.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average tumbled more than 900 points, closing 2.8% down at 33,811.40 as negative sentiment swept through the market. On the day, the Dow fell 981.36 points.
The S&P 500 also saw heavy selling, with session losses of 2.8%, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite fell 2.6% to see stocks record the worst day in April so far. With these losses, US stocks have now notched a fourth straight week of negative returns.The Dow posted its worst day since 28 October 2020, while the S&P 500 has seen its worst daily performance since March.
Asia and European stocks struggled Friday
Wall Street’s rough session Friday mirrored largely negative returns for Asian and European stocks, with central banks’ remarks out of China failing to buoy investor sentiment across Asia-Pacific.
While China’s central bank Governor Yi Gang noted that the country is eyeing a prudent approach to its monetary policy, widespread jitters kept the markets largely lower.
Mainland Chinese shares ended Friday mixed, as Shanghai Composite edged +0.23% while the Shenzhen Component fell 0.29%. Japan’s Nikkei 225 shed 1.63%, Australia’s ASX 200 closed 1.57% down and South Korea’s Kospi declined 0.86%.
European markets too closed lower on Friday, with the pan-European Stoxx 600 ending the session 1.79% down. Germany’s DAX fell 2.48%, France’s shed nearly 2.0% and UK’s FTSE 100 closed 1.4% lower.
In other markets
Elsewhere, gold was at $1,935.30 per ounce, 0.7% down while WTI crude was losing 2.1% at $101.60 a barrel. In crypto, Bitcoin broke below $40K again and was trading around $39,500 with losses of 4.6% in the past 24 hours.
Meanwhile, Treasury yields remained high. The 10-year US benchmark reached 2.904%.
Apart from uncertainty over rate hikes and inflation, other factors that continue to impact markets include COVID and the war in Ukraine.