Dow futures drop 300 points as rates jump, raising fears about a recession

Wall Street points toward lower open as oil prices slip

Stock futures fell Thursday as interest rates jumped with Federal Reserve officials signaling interest rate hikes to slow inflation are far from over.

Futures tied to the Dow Jones Industrial Average dipped 316 points, or 0.9%. S&P 500 futures slipped 1.1%, while Nasdaq-100 futures fell 1.2%.

St. Louis Federal Reserve President James Bullard said in a speech Thursday that “the policy rate is not yet in a zone that may be considered sufficiently restrictive.”

“The change in the monetary policy stance appears to have had only limited effects on observed inflation, but market pricing suggests disinflation is expected in 2023,” added Bullard.

The 2-year Treasury Yield jumped to 4.42% Thursday morning, raising fears higher rates would send the economy into a recession.

“I’m looking at a labor market that is so tight, I don’t know how you continue to bring this level of inflation down without having some real slowing, and maybe we even have contraction in the economy to get there,” said Kansas City Fed President Esther George to the Wall Street Journal on Wednesday.

Stocks most vulnerable to a recession and higher rates led the losses in premarket trading. Financials led by Wells Fargo were lower. Tech shares Tesla and Netflix declined.

“Additional monetary tightening and the cumulative impact of this year’s rate hikes suggest recession risks remain elevated,” wrote Mark Haefele, UBS Global Wealth Management chief investment officer, in a note. “We continue to believe that the macroeconomic preconditions for a sustainable rally—that interest rate cuts and a trough in growth and corporate earnings are on the horizon—are not yet in place.”

The latest moves followed a down day on Wall Street, the second in three days. The S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite fell 0.83% and 1.54%, respectively. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 39.09 points, or 0.12%.

Downward pressure emerged from weak guidance from Target, which reported a decline in sales as inflation pinches shoppers heading into the holiday season. The Minneapolis-based chain ended 13% lower, while its forward guidance cast doubt on other retailers.

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