U.S. Stocks See Further Downside Amid Worries About Impact Of Higher Rates

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(RTTNews) – Stocks have moved mostly lower in morning trading on Thursday, adding to the steep losses posted in the previous session. The Dow has fallen to its lowest intraday level in over three months, while the Nasdaq and the S&P 500 have slumped to two-month intraday lows.

Currently, the major averages are all in negative territory, although the Dow is posting a relatively modest loss. The Dow is down 86.53 points or 0.3 percent at 30,097.25, the S&P 500 is down 28.95 points or 0.8 percent at 3,760.98 and the tech-heavy Nasdaq is down 148.71 points or 1.3 percent at 11,071.48.

The weakness on Wall Street reflects continued concerns about the economic outlook following the Federal Reserve’s third straight 75 basis point interest rate hike on Wednesday.

While the Fed’s economic projections provided a clearer outlook for future rate hikes, traders remain concerned about the impact the aggressive rate increases will have on the economy.

The next Fed meeting is over a month away, giving traders a lot of time to analyze incoming economic data and try to determine the effect of the recent string of rate hikes.

Reports on inflation and the labor market are likely to be in focus in the coming weeks, as traders look for signs the Fed could alter the aggressive plan that has been laid out.

The Labor Department released a report this morning showing an uptick in jobless claims in the week ended September 17th.

The report showed initial jobless claims inched up to 213,000, an increase of 5,000 from the previous week’s revised level of 208,000.

Economists had expected jobless claims to edge up to 218,000 from the 213,000 originally reported for the previous week.

The modest increase came after jobless claims dropped to their lowest level since the week ended May 28th in the previous week.

Meanwhile, the Conference Board released a separate report showing its index of leading U.S. economic indicators declined for the sixth consecutive month in August.

The Conference Board said its leading economic index fell by 0.3 percent in August after sliding by a revised 0.5 percent in July.

Economists had expected the leading economic index to come in unchanged compared to the 0.4 percent drop originally reported for the previous month.

A strong by Salesforce (CRM) is limiting the downside for the Dow, with the business software giant jumping by 2.5 percent after uneviling a plan to operate more efficiently and increase profit margins.

Airline stocks are extending the nosedive seen over the two previous sessions, with the NYSE Arca Airline Index plummeting by 2.7 percent to its lowest intraday level in over two months.

Substantial weakness has also emerged among semiconductor stocks, as reflected by the 2.6 percent plunge by the Philadelphia Semiconductor Index.

Banking stocks have also shown a significant move to the downside on the day, dragging the KBW Bank Index down by 1.7 percent to a two-month intraday low.

Networking, computer hardware and retail stocks are also seeing notable weakness, while pharmaceutical stocks are bucking the downtrend.

In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region moved mostly lower during trading on Thursday. Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index fell by 0.6 percent, while China’s Shanghai Composite Index dipped by 0.3 percent.

The major European markets have also moved to the downside on the day. While the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index has slumped by 0.9 percent, the German DAX Index and the French CAC 40 Index are down by 1.5 percent and 1.6 percent, respectively.

In the bond market, treasuries have pulled back sharply after ending yesterday’s trading firmly positive. As a result, the yield on the benchmark ten-year note, which moves opposite of its price, is up by 19.4 basis points at 3.704 percent.

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