The S&P 500 closed the books on its steepest September decline in two decades on Friday, skidding across the finish line of a tumultuous quarter fraught with historically hot inflation, rising interest rates and recession fears.
All three major indexes veered to a sharply lower end, having quashed a brief rally early in the session. The S&P and the Dow notched their third consecutive weekly declines, and all three indexes posted their second straight monthly losses.
The Dow fell 1.7 percent to 28,725, the S&P 500 lost 1.5 percent, to 3,585, and the Nasdaq also dropped 1.5 percent, to 10,575. Among the S&P's major sectors, real estate was the sole gainer, while utilities tech suffered the largest percentage losses. Apple, Microsoft, Amazon and Nike all weighed heavily.
Wall Street has now suffered three quarterly declines in a row, the longest losing streak for the S&P and the Nasdaq since 2008 and the Dow's longest quarterly slump in seven years.
"It's another ugly day to end an ugly quarter in what’s looking like a very ugly year," said Ryan Detrick, chief market strategist at Carson Group in Omaha, Nebraska. "Investors will look back and realize this was the year the Fed pulled a total 180 on their views on inflation and quickly turned incredibly hawkish."
The Federal Reserve has rattled markets by engaging in its most relentless series of interest rate hikes in decades in order to rein in stubbornly high inflation, which has many market participants eyeing key economic data for signs of a looming recession.
"The realization that the Fed is doing anything they can to combat 40-year-high inflation has investors worried they will push the economy over the edge and into recession," Detrick added.
The Commerce Department's personal consumption expenditures (PCE) report did little to assuage those fears, showing that while consumers continue to spend, the prices they are paying have accelerated, drifting further beyond the Fed's inflation target and all but ensuring the central bank's hawkish monetary policy will continue longer than investors had hoped. (Reuters)