Dow drops 500 factors to finish worst quarter for shares in 2 years

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Shares fell for the second straight session on Thursday as merchants wrapped up a rocky first quarter for Wall Road.

The Dow Jones Industrial Common slid 550.46 factors, or 1.56%, to 34,678.35. The S&P 500 shed 1.57% to 4,530.41, and the Nasdaq Composite was down 1.54% to 14,220.52. Losses deepened within the last hour of buying and selling, and shares closed at session lows.

Thursday marked the final buying and selling day of March and of the primary quarter, which can have contributed to the late day weak spot as skilled cash managers tweaked their portfolios for the tip of the interval.

For the primary quarter, the Dow and S&P 500 closed down 4.6% and 4.9%, respectively. The Nasdaq misplaced 9%. For the three main averages, this was worst interval because the first quarter of 2020, which marked the beginning of the Covid pandemic within the U.S. and noticed the S&P 500 tumble 20%. The beginning of a charge mountain climbing cycle from the Federal Reserve, excessive inflation and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine all contributed to the struggles for equities this quarter.

March was a little bit of a vibrant spot, nonetheless, as the key averages loved a stable two week rally within the again half of the month. The S&P 500 and Nasdaq rose greater than 3% in March, whereas the Dow added 2.2%.

“There’s been a pleasant aid rally, partly on starting to look previous the invasion, some readability round central financial institution actions, and a few technical shopping for, as there was some huge cash on the sidelines,” mentioned Erik Knutzen, the chief funding officer for multi-asset class methods at Neuberger Berman.

“However we expect from right here traders are going to, sooner or later, notice, wait a second, development is slowing and rates of interest are rising and inflation continues to be excessive. That is nonetheless a difficult set-up for equities.”

Semiconductor and tech {hardware} shares got here underneath stress Thursday amid analyst concerns over the PC market going forward. AMD shares slid greater than 8% after analysts at Barclays downgraded the inventory to equal weight from chubby. In the meantime, HP Inc and Dell dropped 6.5% and seven.6%, respectively, after being downgraded to equal weight from chubby at Morgan Stanley.

Shares of Walgreens Boots Alliance dropped 5%, weighing on the Dow. The pharmacy chain beat estimates for its fiscal second quarter, although that was due partly to demand for pandemic-related merchandise.

Financial institution shares have been one other space of weak spot, with JPMorgan Chase dropping 3% and Goldman Sachs shedding 1.6% because the so-called yield curve narrowed.

On the info entrance, core PCE costs, a key inflation measure watched by the Fed, got here in at 5.4% development yr over yr for February. That was slightly below the expectations of 5.5%.

Inventory picks and investing developments from CNBC Professional:

The market posted losses Thursday at the same time as some aid got here on the power entrance.

Oil prices fell, with West Texas Intermediate futures dropping greater than 6% to round $100 per barrel, as President Joe Biden’s administration introduced a plan to launch 1 million barrels of oil per day from the strategic petroleum reserve for about six months.

In Ukraine, Russian forces continued to carry their positions round Kyiv and shell the capital metropolis, based on UK intelligence officers. Russia president Vladimir Putin mentioned funds for Russian pure fuel will should be made in rubles, Reuters reported, additional complicating power provide points for Europe.

“We will be bouncing round between excellent news and unhealthy information, sadly,” mentioned George Mateyo, Key Personal Financial institution chief funding officer. “That is going to create some volatility.”

Elsewhere, weekly jobless claims got here in at 202,000. Economists surveyed by Dow Jones have been anticipating 196,000. Private earnings rose 0.5%, assembly expectations, whereas shopper spending rose lower than anticipated.

The info releases got here forward of the intently adopted month-to-month jobs report from the Labor Division. The report for March might be launched earlier than the opening bell on Friday.

-CNBC’s Michael Bloom contributed to this report

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