US stocks sink as inflation beat seals jumbo hike

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US stocks plunged and Treasury yields spiked after a hot inflation reading all but assured another large Federal Reserve rate increase.

The S&P 500 sank more than 2%, trading at a two-year low as the Fed aggressively throttles the economy in an effort to tamp down inflation. The Nasdaq 100 dropped almost 3%.

A key gauge of US consumer prices hit a 40-year high in September, showing the central bank’s efforts have so far had little effect. Two-year Treasury yields soared and the dollar rallied in anticipation of more outsize rate increases.

The latest data added to evidence the harsh monetary medicine has yet to take hold and comes on the heels of last week’s payrolls figures that showed unemployment rate at a five-decade low in September.

Risk assets have been under pressure all year as central banks around the world attempt to tame runaway inflation. The latest data added to evidence the harsh monetary medicine has yet to take hold and comes on the heels of last week’s payrolls figures that showed unemployment rate at a five-decade low in September.

“This isn’t the CPI report markets or the Fed were hoping for,” said James Athey, investment director at abrdn. “Inflation pressures remain stubbornly high. The reality is that for the foreseeable future the Fed is locked into a stance of unequivocal hawkishness. This will support bond yields and the US dollar but its yet more bad news for equities.”

Rates market bets now lean toward back-to-back 75 basis-point hikes at the next two Fed meetings. They now expect the central bank to push rates past 4.85% before the tightening cyle ends. The current rate is 3.25%.

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