Investors are incredibly anxious about inflation, which refuses to go away. The Dow plummeted more than 1,050 points, or 3.3%, in late afternoon trading Tuesday. The S&P 500 and Nasdaq fared even worse, tumbling 3.6% and 4.5% respectively.
It was a broad-based slide, with all eleven sectors of the market heading lower. Tech stocks, retailers and banks were among the biggest losers. Those three groups stand to get hit the hardest if the Federal Reserve raises interest rates even more aggressively to try and get inflation under control.
Wall Street’s big fear is that higher rates will eventually lead to an economic slowdown or even a recession.
Stocks had been on a four-day winning streak prior to Tuesday’s plunge. One strategist suggested that there could be more market pain ahead. Traders may have made the mistake of assuming that inflation would soon no longer be a major economic problem.
“Investors clearly had reached a level of complacency with the 5% rally over the previous week. The reaction is severe but simply brings the S&P 500 Index back to the level from last Wednesday,” said Mark Hackett, chief of investment research with Nationwide, in a report.