Dow falls over 700 points; The S&P 500 falls into the bear market territory

Sales in the stock market deepened on Monday, putting the S&P 500 on the verge of closing in a bear market, as investors took another look at Friday’s glowing inflation data and liked them even less.

Faced with increasing chances of aggressive money tightening by the Federal Reserve, investors largely took risks and acquired safer assets. The S&P 500 fell 3.2%, with most member stocks down on the day, while the yield on the 10-year US government bond rose to 3.350% on Monday, from 3.156% on Friday.

Meanwhile, a route in cryptocurrencies highlighted investors’ growing unwillingness to hang on to their most speculative holdings. The price of bitcoin plunged to less than $ 23,000 on Monday, and at one point it traded down 67% from its peak in November.

“We definitely see a risk-off atmosphere, a flight to quality,”[ads1]; said Charlie Ripley, senior investment strategist at Allianz Investment Management. “In that environment, people have to raise money.”

The declines set the S&P 500 on course to shut down at least 20% from the highest in January, which would send the US stock reference into a bear market for the first time since 2020. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 2.3%, or around 720 points , while technology-heavy Nasdaq Composite fell 3.9%.

Markets have fluctuated wildly this year as investors try to figure out how quickly the central bank will raise interest rates in an attempt to curb soaring inflation. Bottom-line tariffs and other stimulus policies helped keep the economy – as well as markets – afloat as the arrival of the Covid-19 pandemic left businesses idle and threw people out of work.

Now the Fed is trying to tame rising prices by phasing out the simple-money policy. The latest twist came when data on Friday showed that US consumer prices rose 8.6% year-on-year in May, the fastest increase since 1981.

“The very fact that it exceeded expectations has really hurt investors’ nerves even more and shown how difficult it is to try to keep inflation in check,” said Susannah Streeter, senior investment and market analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown. “The concern is that inflation will be too hot to handle for central banks, and they will have to dose cold-water economies in the form of tighter policies.”

The Fed will start its last two-day policy meeting on Tuesday, and most investors believe that the central bank will announce on Wednesday that it will raise the reference rate by half a percentage point. But expectations that the Fed will be forced to go even more aggressive this year have risen since Friday’s inflation report.

On Monday, futures bets showed that traders assigned an approximately 81% probability that the Fed will raise interest rates by 2.5 percentage points by the end of the year, according to CME Group. This will correspond to an interest rate increase of half a percentage point at each Fed meeting this year. On Friday, traders placed the chances of it at 50%, according to CME Group.

“Inflation seems to be staying longer than expected,” said Kiran Ganesh, a multi-asset strategist at UBS.

“People are now beginning to fear that the Fed must go further or faster in terms of interest rates.”

A fall in cryptocurrencies accelerated on Monday after interest rate fears triggered a sale over the weekend. Bitcoin, the largest cryptocurrency, traded at around $ 23,580 according to CoinDesk – a 16% drop from 24 hours earlier. Ethereum fell 18% from 24 hours earlier to around $ 1,244. Shares in Coinbase Global recently fell 12%, while Celsius Network said it suspended all withdrawals, exchanges between cryptocurrencies and transfers between accounts, citing “extreme market conditions” .

US technology stocks, which rose through the pandemic, were set to fall sharply on Monday. Apple stock fell 2.6%, while stock lost 4.9%. Chipmaker Nvidia fell 6.4% and Tesla was down 6.2%. Metaplatforms,

the parent company of Facebook, lost 4.7%.

As the markets react to interest rate increases and the threat of a recession, the shares fall closer to the bear market’s territory. WSJ’s Gunjan Banerji explains what it takes to push stocks back into a beef market and why it is difficult to predict when they will turn around. Illustration: Jacob Reynolds

“This is what you call a bear market, where fear takes place and pushes people out of the market and causes people to empty portfolios and capitulate,” said Todd Morgan, chairman of Los Angeles-based Bel Air Investment Advisors.

Nevertheless, Mr. Morgan said that developments over the next few months or two could help ease inflationary pressures, such as lower demand for petrol after the summer and declining demand for housing due to rising mortgage rates.

“We are in a brave new world right now. “I do not think anyone can predict inflation exactly one year from now,” Morgan Stanley chief James Gorman said at a conference on Monday.

“Opening up China is also a big issue,” he said, as it would help ease restrictions on the supply chain. Figures from last week showed that Chinese exports to the rest of the world increased in May when Covid-19 restrictions were eased, which contributed to signs of economic recovery there.

Expectations of higher interest rates were shown in the bond market as interest rates continued to rise after reaching the highest level since November 2018. Bond yields rise as prices fall.

“The image in the US is probably the best in terms of growth,” Ganesh from UBS said. “The growth picture in the eurozone is not good, and whether they avoid recession or not will be close.”

Asian stock indices weakened on Monday, with Japan’s Nikkei 225, South Korea’s Kospi Composite and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng all retreating 2.9% or more.


Eugene Hoshiko / Associated Press

In the foreign exchange markets, the dollar rose against a number of its peers with the WSJ Dollar Index up 0.7% to 97.41. Higher US interest rates usually increase the value of the dollar.

Stock markets abroad were shaken by fears of tighter US policies and a potential slowdown in growth in the world’s largest economy. The pan-continental Stoxx Europe 600 fell 2.4% to its lowest end value since March 2021, while the UK’s FTSE 100 index fell 1.5%.

Equity indices in Asia weakened, with Hong Kong’s Hang Seng, Japan’s Nikkei 225 and South Korea’s Kospi Composite all retreating around 3% or more. In mainland China, the blue-chip CSI 300 index lost around 1.2%.

– Quentin Webb, Dave Sebastian and Megumi Fujikawa contributed to this article.

Write to Chelsey Dulaney at, Justin Baer at and Karen Langley at

Corrections and reinforcements
Kiran Ganesh is a multiasset strategist at UBS. An earlier version of this article incorrectly referred to Mr. Ganesh in another reference as Mr. Kiran. (Corrected June 13)

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