Wall Street falls for third day on inflation jitters ahead of Fed minutes

(Reuters) – Wall Street’s main indexes fell for the third straight session on Wednesday, as investors dumped riskier assets on fears that rising inflation could force the U.S. Federal Reserve to pare back its support soon.

FILE PHOTO: People are seen on Wall Street outside the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York City, U.S., March 19, 2021. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid/File Photo

Investors will also focus on minutes from the Fed’s April policy meeting, where it stood pat on interest rates. The statement is due to be issued at 2 p.m. ET (1800 GMT).

Strong inflation readings and signs of a worker shortage in recent weeks have fueled fears of inflation and roiled stock markets despite reassurances from Fed officials that the rise in prices would be temporary.

“There is no question that inflation worries have creeped into the investor mindset which will weigh on the tech stocks and, in all likelihood, we will see yields go up,” said Randy Frederick, vice president of trading and derivatives for Charles Schwab in Austin, Texas.

“There is very active institutional hedging going on as they expect markets to correct itself in the near term.”

All 11 major S&P sectors dropped, with financials and energy leading declines. The CBOE volatility index, a measure of investor anxiety, jumped 4 points to 25.36.

Wall Street’s main indexes fell in a late session selloff on Tuesday as weak housing starts data overshadowed better-than-expected earnings from Walmart and Home Depot.

Stimulus checks helped U.S. home improvement chain Lowe’s Companies Inc report better-than-expected quarterly same-store sales growth and Target Corp post a surge in sales.

Shares of Lowe’s fell 2% and Target rose 5.1%.

At 10:06 a.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 494.20 points, or 1.45%, at 33,566.46 and the S&P 500 was down 61.85 points, or 1.50%, at 4,065.98. The Nasdaq Composite was down 217.94 points, or 1.64%, at 13,085.69.

The yield on 10-year Treasury notes touched a one-week high, driving down yield-sensitive mega-cap stocks.

The 10-member NYSE FANG+TM index declined 1.8%.

Take-Two Interactive Software Inc rose 2.9% after reporting quarterly profit and sales above analysts’ estimates.

Shares of cryptocurrency and blockchain-related firms dropped as the price of bitcoin briefly touched below the $30,000 mark after China imposed fresh curbs on transactions involving digital coins.

Crypto-exchange operator Coinbase Global fell 10.4%, bitcoin bank Silvergate Capital Corp shed 7.4% and miners Riot Blockchain and Marathon Digital Holdings were down 14.6% and 15%, respectively.

Declining issues outnumbered advancers for a 7.45-to-1 ratio on the NYSE and for a 6.51-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.

The S&P index recorded two new 52-week highs and no new low, while the Nasdaq recorded three new highs and 31 new lows.

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