May 17, 2022

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Stocks fell 2.8%, driven by technology, as the recession continued into April.

Stocks fell 2.8%, driven by technology, as the recession continued into April.

Stocks fell on Tuesday, adding to the streak of losses shaping April to be Wall Street’s worst month in two years.

The S&P 500 fell 2.8%, bringing its losses for the month to 7.8%. The index is on its way to its worst monthly decline since March 2020, when stocks tumbled 12.5 percent as the coronavirus spread around the world, shutting down economic activity.

The steady decline – with just six days of gains in April – came as investors faced a long list of concerns: that the Federal Reserve could raise interest rates much more quickly than economists had anticipated. that higher prices and wages can erode corporate profits; And this is renewed Lockdowns in China It could become another burden on the global economy.

Earlier this month, the International Monetary Fund expected global growth to slow this year to 3.6 percent, from 6.1 percent in 2021. That was before the outbreak of the new Covid virus in Beijing raised concerns about more restrictions in China, the second-largest economy. In the world, where cities like Shanghai have already been closed for weeks.

“China is slowing down the rest of the world if it shuts down,” said Victoria Green, chief investment officer at G Squared Private Wealth, a consultancy. If China shuts down, it could bring trade to a halt, and that slows overall global demand.

On Tuesday, technology shares led the decline on Wall Street, ahead of earnings reports from Alphabet, Microsoft and – later in the week – Meta, Amazon and Apple. Shares of all five companies fell. The Nasdaq Composite, which relies heavily on technology, was down about 4 percent.

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Shares of Tesla, which fell more than 12%, also fell. The company’s CEO, Elon Musk, may have to sell a large portion of his shares in the automaker to fund his takeover of Twitter. he vowed $21 billion Cash as part of the deal, plus loans. Tesla shares are often more volatile than those of other large companies, and it can weigh on the broader S&P 500 when it drops due to the company’s massive valuation.

“Tesla investors are concerned that Musk may spend too much time trying to fix the social media giant’s problems, and that it will take away its laser-like focus on winning the electric car race,” said Edward Moya, chief market analyst at OANDA.

Among the worst performers in the S&P 500 was General Electric, which fell 10.3 percent after saying its outlook for the year was “heading towards the lower end” of its previous earnings forecast and including nearly all of Wall Street’s concerns as a factor. .

“We are seeing increasing pressures from inflation, renewable energy and the Russia-Ukrainian war,” said H. Lawrence Kolb Jr., the company’s CEO, on a conference call with investors Tuesday, when explaining the outlook. “We are also monitoring evolving areas, namely additional supply chain stresses and the effects of the recent Covid in China.”

Concerns about an economic slowdown in the US and abroad weighed on the minds of investors throughout the month. Already, businesses and consumers have incurred higher costs for goods and transportation, with inflation rising 8.5 percent In the year until March.

But the conflict in Ukraine The shutdowns in China have also caused volatility in energy markets, with crude oil rising in early March before easing back slightly in April. This extended to the stock market as well.

“There was a pendulum going back and forth,” Ms. Green said. “We go from saying oil prices are too high to saying we’re going to see oil prices lower because we don’t have the demand we thought we were going to see.”

Brent crude futures, the international benchmark, rose about 2.5 percent on Tuesday to about $105 a barrel. West Texas Intermediate crude, the US benchmark, for June delivery rose 3.2 percent to $101.70 a barrel.

Investors are also competing with the Federal Reserve’s approach to raising interest rates in the coming months in an effort to cool inflation. Although Wall Street has already been pricing in several rate increases this year, Federal Reserve officials have embraced more aggressive The tone this month is about their willingness to raise interest rates quickly to try to stem inflation, and analysts fear the central bank could push the economy into recession.

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“The only way to calm inflation is to destroy demand and increase unemployment,” said Jean Boivin, president of the BlackRock Investment Institute. “It won’t be as simple as raising interest rates as the markets expect.”

Mohammad Hadi Contribute to the preparation of reports.