Stocks slumped Thursday, giving back some of the sharp gains seen in the previous session, as bond yields resumed their upward march.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 301 points, or 1%. The S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite declined 1.35% and 1.84%, respectively.
A stronger-than-expected jobless claims report didn’t help sentiment, building on the notion that the Federal Reserve will keep doing aggressive rate hikes to fight inflation without concern it’s going to hurt the labor market.
The 10-year U.S. Treasury yield rebounded after dropping the most since 2020 the prior day despite briefly topping 4%. The yield last rose to 3.78%.
The moves followed a broad rally for stocks a day earlier, as the Bank of England said it would purchase bonds in an effort to help steady its financial markets and the cratering British pound. Sterling has stooped to record lows against the U.S. dollar in recent days.
It marked a stark shift from the aggressive tightening campaign many global central banks have undertaken to cope with surging inflation.
The Dow on Wednesday gained more than 500 points, or 1.9%, while the S&P 500 rose nearly 2% after hitting a new bear market low on Tuesday. Both indexes snapped six-day losing streaks.
“We are skeptical that the calmer mood in markets on Wednesday marks an end to the recent period of elevated volatility or risk-off sentiment. For a more sustained rally, investors will need to see convincing evidence that inflation is coming under control, allowing central banks to become less hawkish,” UBS’ Mark Haefele wrote in a Thursday note.
Wednesday’s rally put the major averages on pace to eke out small gains for the week, but they are still on track to cap off their worst month since June. The Nasdaq Composite is leading the monthly losses, down about 8.4%, while the Dow and S&P are on pace to close 7% and 7.5% lower, respectively.
On a quarterly basis, the Nasdaq is on track to break a two-quarter losing streak, while the Dow is headed for its third consecutive quarterly loss for the first time since the third quarter of 2015. The S&P is on pace for its third negative quarter in a row for the first time since its six-quarter negative streak that ended the first quarter of 2009.