U.S. stocks drop as oil, Treasury yields touch 2024 highs


  • World
  • Wednesday, 03 Apr 2024

NEW YORK, April 2 (Xinhua) -- U.S. stocks ended lower on Tuesday, as investors continued to worry that the Federal Reserve could cut interest rates later than expected.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell by 396.61 points, or 1.0 percent, to 39,170.24. The S&P 500 sank 37.96 points, or 0.72 percent, to 5,205.81. The Nasdaq Composite Index shed 156.38 points, or 0.95 percent, to 16,240.45.

Eight of the 11 primary S&P 500 sectors ended in red, with health and consumer discretionary leading the laggards by losing 1.62 percent and 1.28 percent, respectively. Meanwhile, energy and utilities led the gainers by rising 1.37 percent and 0.17 percent, respectively.

The stock market's second quarter began on a challenging note, with persistent inflation data from the previous week and robust economic indicators on Monday pushing Treasury yields higher. This development lowered the likelihood of the Federal Reserve implementing rate cuts in June.

On Tuesday, stocks faced pressure as the 10-year Treasury yield rose to its highest level since Nov. 28. Additionally, oil prices surged to levels last witnessed five months ago, adding to market uncertainties.

Cleveland Federal Reserve President Loretta Mester said on Tuesday that she still expects interest rate cuts this year, but ruled out that in the next policy meeting in May. "I continue to think that the most likely scenario is that inflation will continue on its downward trajectory to 2 percent over time. But I need to see more data to raise my confidence," Mester said. "I do not expect I will have enough information by the time of the FOMC's next meeting to make that determination."

Futures traders expect the Fed to start easing in June and to cut by three-quarters of a percentage point by the end of the year. San Francisco Fed President Mary Daly also said Tuesday that three reductions this year are a "very reasonable baseline" though she said nothing is guaranteed.

"Three rate cuts is a projection, and a projection is not a promise," she said.

Also on Tuesday, automakers overall saw upticks in U.S. vehicle sales for both March and the first quarter of 2024. Toyota Motor led the industry with a 21 percent increase in sales during the January-through-March period, while Honda Motor recorded a 17 percent gain. However, Tesla's shares declined following the company's report of first-quarter vehicle sales that were below Wall Street's expectations, showing an 8.5 percent decrease from the previous year.

Tech-related giants Nvidia, Alphabet and Microsoft, some of this year's big winners, all ended the day lower on Tuesday.

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