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Stocks extend losses after Fed chief's warning

·4-min read

Stocks slid further Monday and the dollar rallied as traders continued to digest US Federal Reserve chief Jerome Powell's warning of more interest rate hikes to fight inflation.

Wall Street's main indices closed lower, extending Friday's steep losses immediately following Powell's speech, where he made clear the Fed's priority is to bring inflation down from a four-decade high -- even at the expense of economic growth and employment.

"Restoring price stability will take some time and requires using our tools forcefully to bring demand and supply into better balance," he told the Jackson Hole gathering of global monetary policymakers.

The comments dealt a blow to markets, which had in recent weeks enjoyed a bounce from June lows as some weak economic data and a modest slowdown in price rises fanned hopes the Fed would temper its interest rate hike drive and potentially start to lower rates next year.

Powell doused those hopes.

He "didn't splash some cold water on the stock market's face," said market analyst Patrick O'Hare at Briefing.com.

"He dumped a whole bucket of ice water on it and the stock market wasn't ready for the ice bucket challenge."

Yanxi Tan of Malayan Banking said: "The game of assessing the Fed outlook has shifted from guessing how high the peak rate might be to also understanding how long it might stay there for."

Analysts said the chances of a third successive 75 basis-point increase next month had risen, with US Treasury yields -- a gauge of future interest rates -- surging. That in turn helped propel the dollar higher.

The dollar closed in on the 140-yen mark not seen since 1998, but an easing in European gas prices helped the euro limit its losses.

"Powell sent the dollar rallying... on the back of a solid divergence between the decidedly hawkish Fed, and more hawkish, but increasingly worried, other central banks," said Swissquote Bank analyst Ipek Ozkardeskaya.

"Other major central banks are also hawkish, but they are less aggressive than the Fed," she added.

Asian stocks ended sharply lower except for Shanghai, which eked out a small gain.

In European trading, both Paris and Frankfurt ended the day in the red.

London was closed for a public holiday.

European gas prices retreated from record highs set last week after Germany said Sunday it is replenishing its gas stocks more quickly than expected, and should meet an October target early despite drastic Russian supply cuts.

An emergency meeting of EU energy ministers was called for next week, with European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen saying the bloc is working on an "emergency intervention" to rein in electricity prices sent soaring by Russia's war in Ukraine as well as a structural reform of the market.

Oil prices jumped despite talk that surging interest rates could choke off the economic recovery as traders focused on supply concerns.

The commodity has fallen in recent weeks on bets that demand will be hit by an expected drop in economic output, particularly from China as it continues to battle a Covid-19 outbreak with lockdowns.

- Key figures at around 2100 GMT -

New York - Dow: DOWN 0.6 percent at 32,098.99 points (close)

New York - S&P 500: DOWN 0.7 percent at 4,030.61 (close)

New York - Nasdaq: DOWN 1.0 percent at 12,017.67 (close)

EURO STOXX 50: DOWN 0.9 percent at 3,570.51 (close)

Frankfurt - DAX: DOWN 0.6 percent at 12,892.99 (close)

Paris - CAC 40: DOWN 0.8 percent at 6,222.28 (close)

London - FTSE 100: Closed for public holiday

Tokyo - Nikkei 225: DOWN 2.7 percent at 27,878.96 (close)

Hong Kong - Hang Seng Index: DOWN 0.7 percent at 20,023.22 (close)

Shanghai - Composite: UP 0.1 percent at 3,240.73 (close)

Euro/dollar: UP at $0.9998 from $0.9964 Friday

Pound/dollar: DOWN at $1.1703 from $1.1743

Euro/pound: UP at 85.42 pence from 84.85

Dollar/yen: UP at 138.73 yen from 137.38

West Texas Intermediate: UP 4.2 percent at $97.01 per barrel

Brent North Sea crude: UP 4.5 percent at $105.09

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