Published: Mon, March 05, 2018
Economy | By

USA stockmarkets suffer worst month in over two years

USA stockmarkets suffer worst month in over two years

USA stocks closed sharply lower on Wednesday, ending the negative month of February on a down note as concerns over inflation and interest rates continued to drive trading.

Wednesday's declines closed a month marked by spikes in volatility and fears that rising inflation could prompt the Federal Reserve to pick up the pace of interest rate hikes.

Netflix has now added more than $47 billion in market value this year on the way to an S&P 500-leading gain of 57%.

The S&P 500 fell 3 points, or 014%, to 2,710, with six of the 11 main sectors trading lower.

The Standard & Poor's 500 index was down 46 points, or 1.7 per cent, at 2,667 as of 2:25 p.m. The FTSE 100 in London dropped 0.8 per cent.

Dealers were taking fright at a plan announced by President Trump...

Industrial companies that would take a hit from higher steel and aluminum prices fell sharply. That will also mean higher costs for consumers. Heavy equipment maker Caterpillar lost $5.28, or 3.4 per cent, to $149.35 and aerospace giant Boeing gave back $14.64, or 4 per cent, to $347.57.

US stock-market indexes switched between gains and losses on Thursday, after Federal Reserve chief Jerome Powell said he saw no signs of significant wage inflation as he testified before a Senate committee.

Trump told industry executives Thursday he would impose the tariffs next week.

"Trump has always been accused of prioritising protectionist populist measures over those that will benefit both domestic and global growth, something he has repeatedly dismissed, claiming the measures being considered were aimed at making trade fair and reciprocal".

Retaliation by Canada and Mexico over steel tariffs could poison talks on Nafta.

Making a contrarian case for Best Buy stock before earnings. The European Union could be even more aggressive on USA internet giants Facebook (FB) and Alphabet (GOOGL)-unit Google.

FCA US, the USA unit of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV (FCA) sales fell 1% in February to 168,326 vehicles.

Of course, the Trump tax cuts are only now kicking in, providing a big boost to corporate profits and lifting economic growth.

The performance of individual stocks was somewhat more scattered compared with Thursday.

Meanwhile, the Federal Reserve is likely headed for three rate hikes in 2018, but investors are anxious that policymakers may be more aggressive.

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