Stocks decline as Wall Street’s effort at a rally fails
As markets struggled to maintain a recovery from earlier in the day, stocks modestly declined on Wednesday in turbulent trading. Traders also considered remarks made by Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell, who reaffirmed the position of the central bank in battling inflation. In the last hour of trade, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 47.12 points, or 0.15 percent, to 30,483.13. To 3,759.89, the S&P 500 fell 0.13 percent. To 11,053.08, the NASDAQ Composite dropped 0.15 percent.
Stock prices have recently been affected by growing fears of a Wall Street slump. On Wednesday, Fed Chair Powell testified before Congress that the Fed has the “resolve” to rein in inflation, which has risen to 40-year highs. The Fed chairman told the Senate Banking Committee, “At the Fed, we realise the suffering high inflation is inflicting. “We are acting quickly to bring inflation back down because we are strongly committed to doing so.”
Until it sees “compelling evidence that inflation is heading down,” Powell continued, the Fed will maintain its current trajectory. He added that it has grown “much more difficult” to provide a smooth landing for the economy without one. The Federal Reserve increased interest rates by 0.75 percentage points last week and warned that a similar hike could occur again the following month. Investors were alarmed by the central bank’s previous week change to a more aggressive stance against inflation, fearing that it would prefer a recession to continued high inflation.
Jerome Powell has made it clearly apparent that the Fed will keep raising interest rates until inflation starts to decline because inflation is still the largest risk to financial assets. Robert Schein, chief investment officer at Blanke Schein Wealth Management, wrote that a sustained rally for risk assets is difficult to envision until that time. Till the Fed gives the go-ahead, “tight monetary conditions will continue to be a headwind for financial markets,” Schein said.
This week on Wall Street, anticipation of an impending recession grew. According to evidence showing that consumers are beginning to cut down on spending, Citigroup increased the likelihood of a worldwide recession to 50%. The cumulative probability of recession is now approaching 50%, according to a note from Citigroup. “The experience of history indicates that disinflation generally bears considerable costs for growth,” the paper stated.
According to Goldman Sachs, the risks are “greater and more front-loaded,” making a recession for the American economy more likely. The Fed will feel compelled to respond forcefully to high headline inflation and consumer inflation expectations if energy prices continue to rise, even if activity slows sharply, the firm said in a note to clients. “The main reasons are that our baseline growth path is now lower and that we are increasingly concerned.” In the meantime, UBS stated in a note to clients on Tuesday that while in its base scenario it does not anticipate a U.S. or global recession in 2022 or 2023, “it is obvious that the possibilities of a hard landing are rising.”
Given the robustness of consumer and bank balance sheets, UBS continued, “Even if the economy does enter a recession, it should be a brief one. “Oil prices fell on worries that a weaker economy may reduce fuel consumption, hurting energy equities. With a decline of about 4.2 percent, the sector had the worst performance on the broad-market index. Shares of ConocoPhillips and Marathon Oil fell by around 6.3 percent and 7.2 percent, respectively. Exxon Mobil and Occidental Petroleum had declines of 3.6% and almost 4%, respectively.