Rates fears extend Wall Street’s losing run

Wall Street’s main indexes extended losses on Friday as investors worried that the Federal Reserve will need to be more aggressive than expected in raising interest rates to combat inflation.

The tech-heavy Nasdaq registered its lowest close since 2020, notching a fifth straight weekly loss, its longest losing streak since the fourth quarter of 2012. The S&P 500 also posted its fifth straight weekly loss, its longest string of weekly losses since the second quarter of 2011.

“Ninety-five percent of the driver of the market right now is long-term interest rates,” said Jay Hatfield, founder and chief executive of Infrastructure Capital Management in New York.

The Labour Department presented stronger-than-expected jobs data with nonfarm payrolls increasing by 428,000 jobs in April, versus expectations of 391,000 job additions, underscoring the economy’s strong fundamentals despite a contraction in gross domestic product in the first quarter.

The unemployment rate remained unchanged at 3.6 percent in the month, while average hourly earnings increased 0.3 percent against a forecast of a 0.4 percent rise.

“Oil is up again, continuing the inflationary worries that we are seeing and energy is bucking the trend of a very weak market. But the higher natural gas and crude oil prices have been tailwinds for the energy sector this year,” said Ryan Detrick, chief market strategist for LPL Financial.

Megacap growth stocks slipped, with a few exceptions including Apple, which rose 0.5 percent. Wells Fargo & Co declined 0.5 percent to lead losses among big banks.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.3 percent, to 32,899, the S&P 500 lost 0.57 percent, to 4,123 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 1.4 percent, to 12,145.

Most traders are expecting a 75 basis-point hike at the US central bank’s June meeting, despite Fed chief Jerome Powell’s ruling that out.

Under Armour slumped 23.8 percent after the sportswear maker forecast downbeat fiscal 2023 profit. Shares of rival Nike also slipped. (Reuters)