Dow ends 200 points lower as unraveling oil price shows ‘global economy in a tough spot’

U.S. stocks finished Friday on a low note, halting a four-session rally, after a selloff in oil prices, a hotter-than-expected reading on producer prices, and uneasiness about the housing market resurrected fears of an uncertain path for the economy here and abroad.

How are benchmarks performing?

The Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA, -0.77% fell 201.92 points, or 0.8%, at 25,989.30, and the S&P 500 index SPX, -0.92% lost 25.82 points, or 0.9%, at 2,781.01, while the Nasdaq Composite Index COMP, -1.65% retreated 123.98 points, or 1.7%, at 7,406.90.

Each of the three major indexes, however, recovered from session lows, as the Dow had been down as much as 1.2%, the S&P as low as 1.5%, and the Nasdaq had dropped as much as 2.4%, intraday.

However, for the week, all three main benchmarks posted gains. The Dow registered an increase of 2.8%, the S&P 500 returned 2.1% over the past five sessions, while the Nasdaq eked out a 0.7% gain.

What drove the market?

Chairman Jerome Powell’s Fed held benchmark rates at a range between 2% and 2.25% on Thursday afternoon, and said that the central bank “expects further gradual increases in the target range for the federal-funds rate.”

The policy-setting Federal Open Market Committee delivered no surprises to Wall Street investors. However, investors will continue to wrestle with policy makers’ hopes to normalize interest rates after a decade of easy-money policies.

One clue to the Fed’s future behavior was a producer-price index reading released Friday morning, which showed input prices rising faster than economists were expecting, suggesting the risk of rising inflation, and an aggressive Fed response to curb it, could await investors in the coming months.

In addition, an unceasing decline in oil prices has raised questions about the health of the global economy in general, and the

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