Dow falls 300 points as rising dollar adds to market woes, S&P heads for new 2022 closing low

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The Dow Jones Industrial Average slipped on Monday and the S&P 500 approached a new closing low for the year as interest rates jumped and turmoil rocked foreign currencies.

The Dow Jones lost 326 points, or 1.1%. The S&P 500 fell 1% and the Nasdaq Composite slid 0.4%.

The pound fell to a record low on Monday against the US dollar, dropping 4% at one point to an all-time low of $1.0382. The pound has since hit its worst levels on speculation that the Bank of England may need to raise rates more aggressively to curb inflation.

The Federal Reserve’s aggressive bullish campaign, coupled with the UK tax cuts announced last week, pushed the US dollar higher. The euro has hit its lowest level against the dollar since 2002. A rise in the greenback can hurt the profits of US multinationals and also wreak havoc on global trade, much of which is traded in dollars.

“Such strength in the US dollar has historically led to some sort of financial/economic crisis,” Michael Wilson, Morgan Stanley’s chief US equity strategist, wrote in a note. “If there was a time to be on the lookout for something to break, this would be it.”

The S&P 500 is on track for a fresh 2022 closing low as it dipped below the June closing low of 3,666.77 in Monday afternoon trading. At one point in the day, the index fell to 3,644.76, within eight points of its 2022 intraday low.

Stocks ended a brutal week on Friday, with the blue-chip Dow Jones finding a new intraday low for the year and closing down 486 points. The broad-market S&P 500 temporarily broke below its June closing low and ended down 1.7%. The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite lost 1.8%.

Another high-profile rate hike by the Federal Reserve last week was the catalyst for the latest leg down in markets. The central bank has indicated that it may raise rates to as high as 4.6% before pulling out. Forecasts also show that the Fed plans to be aggressive this year, raising rates to 4.4% before the end of 2022.

Bond yields climbed after the Fed decreed another rate hike of 75 basis points. Yields on 2- and 10-year Treasury bills hit highs not seen in more than a decade.

Rates jumped again on Monday, with the 2-year Treasury bill rising above 4.29% at one point in the day.

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