New York (CNN Business)US stocks tumbled Tuesday and the Dow sold off more than 600 points around mid-morning, as investors grow increasingly concerned about raw material price spikes, shortages and inflation.
Prices are rising all over the place as commodities, shipping costs and more related categories become more expensive.
Even though the shortages and global supply issues have been lurking in plain sight for months, these worries are really weighing on stocks Tuesday.
The price jumps affect broader measures of inflation, which in turn could force the Federal Reserve to change its monetary policy stance sooner than expected. For now, the central bank’s interest rates are ultra-low and it buys billions of dollars worth of assets every month. But eventually that will change, and a prolonged increase in inflation could bring about that shift.
So far, Fed Chairman Jerome Powell has been steadfast in his view that it’s too early to talk about policy changes as both labor market improvements and higher inflation over the medium term would have to happen first.
After all, the employment situation is improving slowly but surely. Tuesday data shows March job openings rose to 8.1 million, the highest number recorded since the government started tracking that metric in December 2000.
Yet investors are still worried, and tech stocks are being hit hardest by the inflation fears.
The Dow (INDU), too, slipped 1.6%, or 560 points. It was down as much as 667 points Tuesday.
The Nasdaq Composite (COMP) traded down 1.2% around mid-morning, while the broader S&P 500 (SPX) also fell 1.4%.
The weakness isn’t confined to the stock market, either.
“The US dollar is trading defensively, alongside weaker stocks and declining major bond markets as investors appear to be in ‘sell (almost) everything’ mode ahead of tomorrow’s US CPI [consumer price] figures,” wrote Scotiabank analysts Shaun Osborne and Juan Manuel Herrera in a note to clients.
The 10-year US Treasury bond yield, which is a proxy for interest rate expectations, was flat at 1.62%. Meanwhile, the ICE US dollar index was 0.2% lower mid-morning.
In the commodities world, US oil prices fell 0.5% to $64.61 per barrel, after increasing following the Colonial pipeline hack over the weekend. Gold prices are down 0.1% at $1,835 an ounce.
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