THE WEEK ON WALL STREET
Concerns over a firmer monetary policy were heightened by fresh economic data, touching off a climb in bond yields and a slide in stock prices last week.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average skidded 2.99%, while the Standard & Poor’s 500 dipped 2.67%. The Nasdaq Composite index sagged 3.33% for the week. The MSCI EAFE index, which tracks developed overseas stock markets, retreated 1.23%.1,2,3
Stocks struggled last week, buffeted by growing fears of further Fed tightening and disappointing forecasts from two major retailers that called into question the consumer’s health. The release of the minutes from the Federal Open Market Committee’s (FOMC) last meeting did little to assuage investor worries. Reflecting these concerns of a more aggressive Fed was that by Thursday, traders were pricing in a 27% chance that the Fed might lift rates by a half-percentage point at its next meeting, far above the 1.3% chance just one month ago.4
Stocks took another leg lower on Friday following the release of January’s Personal Consumption Expenditures (PCE) price index, which showed hotter-than-expected price increases and more robust consumer spending.
1. The Wall Street Journal, February 24, 2023
2. The Wall Street Journal, February 24, 2023
3. The Wall Street Journal, February 24, 2023
4. The Wall Street Journal, February 22, 2023