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Dow plunges 1,000 points, erasing Wednesday’s surge

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Fed Chairman Jerome Powell helped reassure investors on Wednesday afternoon, saying that future rate hikes above 50 basis points are “not something [Fed] is actively considering,” resulting in a bullish surge in the markets. The major indexes were all up around 3%, and the S&P 500 and the Dow Jones had their best days in nearly two years.

But investors woke up to a hangover from binge trading on Thursday, and markets were catapulted into the red as they digested more Fed news.

The Dow Jones lost 1,000 points or 2.9%, the S&P 500 fell 3.3% and the Nasdaq Composite fell 4.6%.

Even without future interest rate hikes of 75 basis points, quantitative tightening poses a threat to economic growth and to markets that have grown accustomed to dovish Fed policy. “There may be some pain associated with going back to that, but the big pain is not dealing with inflation and allowing it to take hold,” Powell warned during his Wednesday afternoon press conference. .

Big tech stocks led the losses on Thursday. Big tech is particularly vulnerable to rising rates because its promise of future innovation and subsequent revenue is valuable to investors.

Facebook parent Meta fell nearly 6%, Amazon fell 6.4% and Google parent Alphabet fell 5.3%.

“However, in all policy actions there are negative consequences, which hopefully are mitigated and less impactful than the issue being addressed,” wrote Rick Rieder, BlackRock’s Chief Investment Officer for global fixed income, in a note Wednesday. “The consequences we risk having by tightening policy are a potential recession, potential job and wage losses, and clearly tighter financial conditions that will weigh on virtually all financial markets.”

E-commerce stocks also fell precipitously after reporting weak earnings in the first quarter of the year. Etsy fell almost 18% and eBay about 8%.

New economic data, meanwhile, showed that labor productivity fell 7.5% in the first quarter of 2022, its fastest decline since 1947.

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