US stocks sank Friday as the major indexes failed early on to build on a Thursday rally and finished with losing weeks.
The S&P 500 (^GSPC) finished down 1.2%, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average (^DJI) slumped by 0.8%, or almost 300 points. The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite (^IXIC) plunged 1.6%, leading the way down.
The moves Friday came as China reported that its economy picked up steam last month, easing concerns about the world’s second-largest economy. In the US, the United Auto Workers union officially launched a historic strike at select Big Three automaker plants.
The Wall Street benchmarks rallied on Thursday, after retail sales and wholesale price inflation for August came in hotter than expected. Those signs of resilience in the US consumer and of persistent price pressures make a case for more Fed rate hikes. The central bank will meet next week, as 97% of bets are currently on the committee holding interest rates at current levels, according to the CME Group’s FedWatch tool.
New data on Friday painted a better picture for the Fed, with the University of Michigan’s consumer survey showing that consumers’ short-term inflation expectations had moved down to lows not seen in more than two years.
A recent oil price rally has spurred the rises in inflation, with a significant effect on stocks. On Friday, WTI crude (CL=F) and Brent (BZ=F) futures stayed near the 2023 highs hit on Thursday.
In individual stock moves, all eyes continued to be on British chipmaker Arm (ARM), which debuted on public markets on Thursday with a near-25% rise. Arm stock gave up early gains to finish more than 4% lower.
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