Shares drop slightly after back-to-back selling

U.S. stocks fell for a third straight day on Thursday after a hawkish reading of minutes from the Federal Reserve’s last policy-setting meeting in the previous session suggested officials were about to intervene. more aggressively to curb inflation.

The S&P 500 fell about 0.2%, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 150 points. The Nasdaq Composite fell 0.3%. The tech-heavy index, which started the week up 2%, closed its second straight session on Wednesday closing down 2.2%. Meanwhile, the 10-year Treasury yield climbed again to 2.637%, the highest level in three years.

Conversations detailed in the March 15-16 Fed meeting minutes released Wednesday suggest policymakers will soon begin unwinding the central bank’s $9 trillion balance sheet, including $4 trillion in asset purchases heaped up to calm markets after the pandemic hit in early 2020. The minutes also said many Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) participants “would have preferred a 50 basis point hike” benchmark interest rates in March, when the Fed raised rates for the first time since 2018.

“When those minutes were released this afternoon, I think what you really saw was the solidification of the news that the Fed is very committed to fighting inflation,” said Lisa Erickson, Senior Vice President of US Bank, to Yahoo Finance Live.

Economists at Bank of America, which recently amended its Fed call to include 50 basis point rate hikes in June and July, said in a Wednesday note that the newly released minutes showed enough evidence to make tilt the balance towards a double increase in May.

“The reality is that we are in uncharted waters here and the Fed has a difficult task unwinding the enormous monetary support over the past two years,” said Charlie Ripley, senior investment strategist at Allianz Investment Management, in a note. “Against this backdrop, it is entirely conceivable that uncertainty over the path of monetary policy will remain entrenched in markets and that is exactly what we are seeing with the recent moves in interest rates and assets to risk.”

Other headwinds that investors must continue to contend with are developments in the Russian-Ukrainian war. The United States imposed a new round of sanctions on Wednesday, including a ban on U.S. investment in Russia. The sanctions also targeted Russia’s Sberbank and Alfabank, two of the country’s largest financial institutions, as well as the two adult daughters of President Vladimir Putin, the wife and daughter of Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and senior members of the Russian Security Council. However, the latest punitive measures were missing from energy transactions.

Meanwhile, testifying before the House Financial Services Committee on Wednesday, US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen warned that Russia’s war in Ukraine would have “huge economic repercussions around the world”, including disturbances in the flow of food and energy.

Yellen also said that Russia should be expelled from the G20 forum and that the United States would boycott “a number of G20 meetings” if Russian officials attend.

9:30 a.m. ET: Stocks fall for third straight day as investors weigh Fed minutes

Here are the main moves in the markets during the opening bell on Thursday:

  • S&P 500 (^GSPC): -6.00 (-0.13%) to 4,475.15

  • Dow (^ DJI): -88.56 (-0.26%) to 34,407.95

  • Nasdaq (^IXIC): -315.35 (-2.22%) to 13,888.82

  • Raw (CL=F): +$0.92 (+0.96%) at $97.15 per barrel

  • Gold (CG=F): +$8.20 (+0.43%) at $1,931.30 per ounce

  • 10-year cash flow (^TNX): +2.4 bps for a yield of 2.6330%

8:37 a.m. ET: New jobless claims drop sharply to lowest since 1968

Unemployment insurance claims fell sharply in the latest weekly data to the lowest level since 1968 and marked a third straight week where new claims were below 200,000, with new layoffs and layoffs remaining low compared to pre-averages. -pandemics.

The Labor Department’s latest weekly jobless claims report showed 166,000 claims were filed in the week ended April 2, exceeding the expectations of 200,000 economists polled by Bloomberg.

New claims for the previous week were also revised down sharply to 171,000 from 202,000 previously reported for the end of March. Before the pandemic, new claims averaged about 218,000 per week throughout 2019.

“The labor market appears to be outpacing the pandemic, rapidly approaching a full recovery,” Rubeela Farooqi, chief U.S. economist at High Frequency Economics, wrote in a note. “Although the labor market is tight, suggesting optimism about economic conditions, a four-decade high in prices is tempering expectations.”

Some of the volatility in the most recent weekly jobless claims data likely reflects a change in how the Labor Department adjusted the numbers to account for seasonal factors. Beginning with Thursday’s report, the Labor Department returned to using “multiplicative” seasonal adjustment factors for data, while during the pandemic the agency had used “additive” seasonal adjustment factors to help smooth out large changes in the data.

7:40 a.m. ET: HP stock jumps after Buffett discloses 11% stake

Warren Buffet’s Berkshire Hathaway, in a new filing late Wednesday, revealed the company had accrued 121 million shares of HP – an 11.4% stake valued at $4.2 billion.

Shares of HP (HPQ) jumped more than 13% in premarket trading ahead of Thursday’s opening bell.

“Berkshire Hathaway is one of the most respected investors in the world and we welcome him as an investor in HP Inc,” an HP spokesperson told Yahoo Finance via email.

The purchase is the latest purchase in a recent shopping spree by Berkshire Hathaway. Buffet’s company also took a nearly 15% stake (worth $7.6 billion) in Occidental Petroleum (OXY) last month.

7:10 a.m. ET: S&P 500, Dow and Nasdaq contracts rise after selloff

Here’s how US stock futures traded ahead of Thursday’s open:

  • S&P 500 Futures Contracts (ES=F): +9.25 points (+0.21%) to 4,485.00

  • Dow futures (JM=F): +15.00 points (+0.04%) to 34,414.00

  • Nasdaq futures contracts (NQ=F): +53.50 points (+0.37%) to 14,558.75

  • Raw (CL=F): +$1.49 (+1.55%) at $97.72 per barrel

  • Gold (CG=F): +$6.70 (+0.35%) at $1,929.80 per ounce

  • 10-year cash flow (^TNX): +0.00 bps for a yield of 2.6090%

6:13 p.m. ET Wednesday: Futures muted after two-day losing streak

Here’s where the markets were trading ahead of Wednesday’s overnight session:

  • S&P 500 Futures Contracts (ES=F): -3.00 points (-0.07%) to 4,472.75

  • Dow futures (JM=F): -29.00 points (-0.08%) to 34,370.00

  • Nasdaq futures contracts (NQ=F): -1.00 points (-0.01%) to 14,504.25

  • Raw (CL=F): +$1.52 (+1.58%) at $97.75 per barrel

  • Gold (CG=F): +$5.00 (+0.26%) to $1,928.10 per ounce

  • 10-year cash flow (^TNX): +5.3 bps for a yield of 2.6090%

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., April 4, 2022. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

Alexandra Semenova is a reporter for Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter @alexandraandnyc

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