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Why Is the Stock Market Down Today? Inflation Worries Spook Investors. – Barrons

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Sheets of one-dollar bills run through the printing press.

Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Global stocks slid on Wednesday as investors reacted to inflation overseas beating expectations and the Federal Reserve hinting it may consider altering monetary policy sooner rather than later.


Dow Jones Industrial Average

fell 164 points, or 0.48%, while the

S&P 500

dropped 0.29% and the

Nasdaq Composite

was essentially unchanged. Major U.S. stock indexes finished lower on Tuesday as enthusiasm over a strong batch of retailer earnings competed with concerns over lofty valuations and signs of some inflationary pressures. Weaker-than-expected housing data didn’t help.

A weak day in Asia saw the

Nikkei 225

drop 1.3% and Australia’s

S&P/ASX 200

benchmark lose nearly 2%. The Stoxx Europe 600 slid 1.5%, with commodity and tech stocks driving losses.

“Most investors could no longer turn a blind eye on rising inflation, knowing that the taper conversation will have to happen sooner rather than later,” writes Ipek Ozkardeskaya, senior analyst at Swissquote Bank. 

U.K. data showed consumer prices rose 1.5% on the year in April, twice the rate of inflation reported in March, according to the Office for National Statistics.

In the minutes of the Federal Open Market Committee meeting of Apr. 27-28, the central bank hinted it may soon consider reducing the size of its bond purchases, which would lower bond prices, lift their yields and put downward pressure on stock valuations.

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Oil prices were also under pressure, with crude and Brent futures dropping nearly 3% each. Those losses came after data from the American Petroleum Institute showed an unexpected rise in U.S. crude supplies, and reports of potential progress on Iranian nuclear talks.

And Bitcoin prices slid after dropping below the $40,000 level earlier on Wednesday, following the People’s Bank of China’s warning that digital currencies can’t be used as payments.

Technology names were under pressure, with heavily weighted semiconductor equipment provider

ASML Holding

dropping 0.22% on the Nasdaq. Shares of German business software group


fell 0.62% in U.S. trade.

Shares of

John Laing

 surged 11% in London, after New York private-equity firm KKR & Co. KKR said it has agreed to buy the U.K.-listed infrastructure investor and manager for £2 billion ($2.84 billion) in cash.

Reata Pharmaceuticals

 (ticker: RETA) stock rose 22% after the company said it is withdrawing its Food and Drug Administration application for a drug, filing a new application instead.

Tyson Foods

 (TSN) stock slipped 0.36% even after getting upgraded to Buy from Hold at Argus.

 (CRM) stock gained 3.24% after getting upgraded to Overweight from Equal Weight at Morgan Stanley.

Ross Stores

 (ROST) stock rose 0.26% after getting upgraded to Buy form Neutral at Northcoast.

Wells Fargo & Co.

 (WFC) stock dropped 1.39% after getting downgraded to Neutral from Buy at UBS.

Write to Jacob Sonenshine at [email protected]

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