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Stocks slide, dollar cuts losses as Powell warns of economic pain

Tight monetary policy "for some time" means slower growth, a weaker job market and "some pain" for households and businesses

August 26, 2022 / 09:17 PM IST

An index of global stock markets fell on Friday, hurt by weakness on Wall Street after Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell said the U.S. economy will need tight monetary policy "for some time" before inflation is under control.

Tight monetary policy "for some time" means slower growth, a weaker job market and "some pain" for households and businesses, Powell said in a speech to the Jackson Hole central banking conference in Wyoming.

"Reducing inflation is likely to require a sustained period of below-trend growth. Moreover, there will very likely be some softening of labour market conditions," Powell said.

He did not hint at what the Fed might do at its upcoming Sept. 20-21 policy meeting. Officials are expected to approve either a 50 basis points or 75 basis points rate increase.

Interest rate futures tied to expectations about Fed policy fell on Friday in the moments after Powell's speech, reflecting an increase in the probability that the Fed would deliver a third straight 75-basis-point rate hike at its next meeting.

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"It was hawkish as expected. Powell's message is clear, the Fed is far from done in its fight against inflation," said Antoine Bouvet, senior rates strategist at ING in London.

MSCI's gauge of stocks across the globe shed 1.16%.

On Wall Street, main indexes fell after Powell's comments, with rate-sensitive banks and high-growth stocks that tend to outperform in a low-interest-rate environment, coming under pressure.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 417.11 points, or 1.25%, to 32,874.67, the S&P 500 lost 64.37 points, or 1.53%, to 4,134.75 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 237.85 points, or 1.88%, to 12,401.42.

European stocks fell as investors fretted over downbeat German consumer sentiment data due to rising energy costs.

Consumer morale in the eurozone's two biggest economies diverged starkly in August as French consumers benefited from fresh government measures while concerns over rising energy bills hit their German counterparts, surveys showed on Friday.

The pan-European STOXX 600 index lost 1.54%.

U.S. two-year Treasury yields briefly popped to their highest levels since Oct. 2007 before stabilizing near two-month highs Friday after Powell's comments on the Fed's plans for interest rate hikes.

The two-year U.S. Treasury yield, which typically moves in step with interest rate expectations, was up 4.9 basis points at 3.423%, slightly below its high for the year of 3.4350% in June.

The yield on 10-year Treasury notes was up about 3 bps to 3.0501%.

In currency markets, the dollar pared its losses against a basket of currencies following Powell's remarks.

The dollar index which measures the greenback against six peers was 0.27% lower at 108.19.

The euro was 0.59% higher, following a Reuters report that some European Central Bank policymakers want to discuss a 75 basis points interest rate hike at the September policy meeting, even if recession risks loom, as the inflation outlook is deteriorating.

Oil prices fell in a choppy session on Friday as talk of a hefty ECB rate hike stoked demand worries.

Brent Crude futures fell $0.61, or 0.61%, to $98.73 a barrel. U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures fell $0.94, or 1.02%, to $93.72.

Spot gold was at $1,744.79 per ounce, down 0.78%. [GOL/]

 
Reuters
first published: Aug 26, 2022 09:17 pm
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