Dow plunges nearly 1,000 points for worst closing loss since 2020 as investors brace for swift interest rate hikes from the Fed

Lucas Jackson/Reuters

  • US stocks plunged on Friday with the Dow notching its fourth straight losing week as investors brace for swift interest rate hikes.

  • “I would say 50 basis points will be on the table for the May meeting,” Fed chief Jerome Powell said at an IMF debate on Thursday.

  • While the Fed attempts to tame inflation, first-quarter results continue to beat revenue and profit estimates.

US stocks plunged on Friday, with the Dow Jones falling nearly 1,000 points as investors grappled with new comments from Fed Chair Jerome Powell that indicate bigger interest rate hikes ahead.

“I would say 50 basis points will be on the table for the May meeting,” Powell said at an IMF debate on Thursday, as the Fed struggles to contain an inflationary rate that has surged to 40-year highs in recent months.

Powell’s warming to the idea of a 50-basis-point rate hike at its next meeting in May has some analysts now calling for a 75-basis-point increase. “75bps is the new 25bps,” Bank of America said in a Friday note, arguing that an interest rate shock is likely.

For the week, the Dow finished down 1.85%, the S&P 500 tumbled 2.7%, and the Nasdaq crashed 3.8%. The Dow Jones marked its fourth consecutive weekly decline, while the S&P 500 and Nasdaq 100 registered their third straight weekly drops.

Here’s where US indexes stood at the 4:00 p.m. ET close on Friday:

Despite the bearishness in the stock market, first-quarter corporate earnings continue to beat analyst estimates on both the top and bottom lines. According to data from Fundstrat, of the 95 companies that have reported so far, or 19% of the S&P 500, results are beating profit estimates by a median of 6%. Meanwhile, revenue estimates have been beating by a median of 3%.

Cryptocurrencies continue to trade in a sideways range as bitcoin remains in a bear market. These were the five best performing cryptos over the past week.

Ukraine announced limits on bitcoin purchases Friday to protect against capital flight as Russia’s war on the country pushes into a third month. The National Bank of Ukraine is banning bitcoin purchases made with the hyrvnia and is capping purchases made with foreign currencies at $3,300 a month.

China’s yuan was on track for its worst weekly drop since 2015 on Friday, as investors rushed back to the US. The offshore yuan, or renminbi, had fallen 2.4% over the week to 6.53 per dollar, according to Bloomberg data.

Demand for oil in China is on pace to slide 20% this month, the biggest shock since the early days of COVID, according to a Bloomberg report. The decline is the equivalent to a drop in crude oil consumption of 1.2 million barrels a day.

West Texas Intermediate crude oil fell as much as much as 1.92% to $101.80 per barrel. Brent crude, oil’s international benchmark, fell as much as 1.85% to $106.33.

Bitcoin fell 2.51% to $39,495. Ether prices dropped 1.03% to $2,963.

Gold fell as much as 0.70% to $1,934.60 per ounce. The yield on the 10-year Treasury dipped nearly 2 basis points to below 2.90%.

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