Wall Street ends down sharply on fears of aggressive Fed rate hikes

  • CPI rose 7.5% in January, above estimates
  • Bullard "dramatically" more hawkish
  • Disney jumps on upbeat quarterly results
  • Indexes: Dow -1.47%, S&P 500 -1.81%, Nasdaq -2.10%

Feb 10 (Reuters) - Wall Street ended sharply lower on Thursday after U.S. consumer prices data came in hotter than expected and subsequent comments from a Federal Reserve official raised fears the U.S. central bank will hike rates aggressively to fight inflation.

U.S. Labor Department data showed consumer prices surged 7.5% last month on a year-over-year basis, topping economists' estimates of 7.3% and marking the biggest annual increase in inflation in 40 years. read more

U.S. stocks fell further after St. Louis Federal Reserve Bank President James Bullard said the data had made him "dramatically" more hawkish. Bullard, a voting member of the Fed's rate-setting committee this year, said he now wanted a full percentage point of interest rate hikes by July 1. read more

"Inflation tends to be kryptonite to valuations. Higher inflation causes multiples to compress, and that's what we're experiencing right now," said Terry Sandven, chief equity strategist at U.S. Bank Wealth Management in Minneapolis.

"Volatility is likely to remain until in the number and magnitude of Fed rate hikes is better known."

Within minutes of Bullard comments, rate futures contracts were fully pricing an increase in the Fed's target range for its policy rate to 1%-1.25% by the end of its policy meeting in June, with some bets on an even steeper rate hike path.

Megacap growth stocks Tesla Inc (TSLA.O), Nvidia (NVDA.O) and Microsoft (MSFT.O)each lost around 3%.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (.DJI) fell 1.47% to end at 35,241.59 points, while the S&P 500 (.SPX) lost 1.81% to 4,504.06.

A man walks along Wall Street in New York September 18, 2008.

The Nasdaq Composite (.IXIC) dropped 2.1% to 14,185.64. It was the seventh time in 2022 that the Nasdaq lost more than 2% in a session.

The S&P 500 is now down about 5% in 2022, and the Nasdaq is down about 9%.

All of the 11 S&P 500 sector indexes declined, with technology <.SPLRCT>, down 2.75%, and real estate (.SPLRCR), down 2.86%, leading the way lower.

Meanwhile, U.S. companies continued to report upbeat quarterly results. With 78% of the S&P 500 companies that have reported results beating analysts' profit estimates, according to Refinitiv data.

Walt Disney Co (DIS.N) rose 3.4% after beating revenue and profit estimates on strong subscriber additions and attendance at U.S. theme parks. read more

Barbie maker Mattel Inc (MAT.O) and cereal maker Kellogg Co (K.N)gained 7.65% and 3.11%, respectively, after forecasting full-year profits above market expectations. read more

Thursday's session was busy. Volume on U.S. exchanges was 12.8 billion shares, compared with a 12.5 billion average over the last 20 trading days.

Declining issues outnumbered advancing ones on the NYSE by a 3.08-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 2.26-to-1 ratio favored decliners.

The S&P 500 posted 31 new 52-week highs and 4 new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 55 new highs and 102 new lows.

Reporting by Bansari Mayur Kamdar, Shreyashi Sanyal and Devik Jain in Bengaluru, by Stephen Culp in New York and by Noel Randewich in Oakland, Calif.; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta, Maju Samuel, Aditya Soni and David Gregorio

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Thomson Reuters

Bansari reports on the global financial markets and writes Reuters' daily flagship market reports on equities, bonds and currencies. An economist by training and winner of the Arthur MacEwan Award for Excellence in Political Economy, she has written for renowned global papers and magazines including The Diplomat, Boston Globe, Conversation, Huffington Post and more.