Stocks gyrate after hot inflation report, Nasdaq turns positive


Stock slid on Wednesday after June inflation data came in hotter-than-expected, contributing to growing fears that the Federal Reserve will get more aggressive in its fight to tame rising prices.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 330 points, or 1.08%, while the S&P 500 fell 1.07%. The Nasdaq Composite lost 1.14%.

“There’s no spinning this, other than the Fed has to get more aggressive near term and crush demand. That cements a recession now, ” said Liz Ann Sonders of Charles Schwab. “I think a recession is an inevitability.”

The consumer price index rose 9.1% on a year-over-year basis in June, coming in even higher than May’s 8.6% reading, which was the biggest increase since 1981. Economists surveyed by Dow Jones’ had anticipated an 8.8% print.

Core CPI, which excludes food and energy prices, came in at 5.9% and above the 5.7% estimate.

Shares of Salesforce, Walt Disney, Boeing and Visa slid more than 2% each as the Dow fell. Just two stocks gained on the day.

Battered tech shares Nvidia, Netflix and Alphabet slipped more than 1% as growth concerns mounted, while Twitter’s stock rose 6.4% after the social media company sued Elon Musk.

All S&P 500 sectors declined on Wednesday, with the exception of energy. The sector rose more than 1% boosted by shares of Devon Energy, Occidental Petroleum and Marathon Oil.

Along with the inflation report, investors continued to monitor second-quarter earnings for clues into the health of U.S. companies. Delta Air Lines shares dropped 7.2% after posting mixed results. Airline stocks including United, American Airlines and Southwest dipped more than 3%.

Bigger Fed rate hikes?

The hot inflation reading could prompt the central bank to hike another 75 basis points during this month’s meeting or raise expectations of an even larger increase to tame surging prices. Last month, the Fed raised its benchmark interest rates three-quarters of a percentage point to a range of 1.5%-1.75% in its most aggressive hike since 1994.

“The core is chugging along at a frightening clip,” said Michael Schumacher at Wells Fargo.

Fed funds futures are now pricing in an 81 basis points rate hike for July. That would indicate that some in the market expect a rate hike of more than 75 basis points, and 100 could happen, he added.

“With core running this strong, the Fed can’t ignore that. This is a bad number,” he said.

Treasury yields and the dollar surged after the report. The 10-year rate added 7 basis points to trade at 3.03%, while the 2-year jumped 11 basis points to 3.16% and the euro fell below parity with the U.S. dollar.

In other news, investors are looking ahead to results from major banks including JPMorgan and Morgan Stanley slated for Thursday.

— CNBC’s Patti Domm contributed reporting

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