US stocks extend fall on rate concerns; Dow drops 250 points

U.S. stock indexes fell on Monday on worries over the Federal Reserve’s plan to keep raising interest rates in its fight against inflation even at the cost of an economic slowdown.

Fed Chair Jerome Powell said on Friday that the U.S. economy would need tight monetary policy “for some time” before inflation is under control, knocking Wall Street‘s main indexes down more than 3%.

Powell’s blunt and hawkish remarks quashed hopes that the U.S. central bank will resort to modest rate hikes after recent data suggested that price pressures were easing.

Heavyweight technology and growth stocks such as Apple Inc , Microsoft Corp and Tesla Inc were down between 0.6% and 1.3% in early trading, hit by rising U.S. Treasury yields.

The U.S. two-year Treasury yield, which is particularly sensitive to interest rate expectations, briefly scaled a 15-year high, while the closely watched yield curve measured by the gap between two and 10-year yields remained strongly inverted.

An inversion is seen by many as a reliable signal of an impending recession.

At 09:33 a.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 265.07 points, or 0.82%, at 32,018.33, the S&P 500 was down 29.87 points, or 0.74%, at 4,027.79, and the Nasdaq Composite was down 82.76 points, or 0.68%, at 12,058.95.

The CBOE’s volatility index, Wall Street’s fear gauge, hit a seven-week high of 27.03 points.

Energy stocks rose 0.7%, tracking a more than 1% rise in oil prices as potential OPEC+ output cuts and conflict in Libya helped to offset a strong U.S. dollar.

Declining issues outnumbered advancers for a 6.06-to-1 ratio on the NYSE and 3.60-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.

The S&P index recorded no new 52-week highs and 18 new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 8 new highs and 104 new lows.

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