Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell retired the word “transitory” to describe stubbornly high inflation in testimony today in front of the Senate Banking Committee.
And, Powell continued, the Fed might accelerate the pace at which it is winding down its purchase of Treasuries and mortgage-backed assets. “It is appropriate, I think, for us to discuss at our next meeting, which is in a couple of weeks, whether it will be appropriate to wrap up our purchases a few months earlier.” The Fed is currently scheduled to complete its asset-purchase program in mid-2022; the next meeting of the policy-setting Federal Open Market Committee is December 15.
An end to the program of asset purchases is thought by Wall Street to be a prerequisite to any increase in interest rates.
Powell’s comments on asset purchases and his retirement of “transitory” both point to an earlier start to interest rates increases.
As you might imagine the stock market wasn’t amused.
As of 2:30 p.m. in New York the Standard & Poor’ 500 was down 1.31% and the Dow Jones Industrial Average was off 1.41%. The NASDAQ Composite was lower by 1.21% and the NASDAQ 100 had given up 1.19%. The small cap Russell 2000 dropped 1.85%.
Stocks were down across the board but economically sensitive stocks fell further than technology shares.
Macy’s (M) was off 4.69% as of 2:30 in New York. Disney (DIS) had tumbled another 2.70%. American Airlines (AAL) was lower by 2.59%. MGM Resorts International (MGM) had given up 4.38%.
On the tech side, the subject of a huge bounce yesterday, Applied Materials (AMAT) was off 1.64%. Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) had dropped 2.23%. Nvidia (NVDA) had fallen 2.42%. And Amazon (AMZN) was lower by 1.21%.
There were only a few spots of green in the sea of red. One was Apple (AAPL), up 2.82% as of 2:30 p.m. in New York.
More on why the market made Apple green in my next post.