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Dow falls 605 points as inflation concerns weigh

REUTERS/BRENDAN MCDERMID/FILE PHOTO
                                Traders work on the floor at the New York Stock Exchange in New York City, on May 17. U.S. stocks ended lower today, even as a strong revenue forecast for Nvidia fueled a surge in its shares, but that was overshadowed by economic data showing inflation was still a concern that could delay any Federal Reserve rate cuts.
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REUTERS/BRENDAN MCDERMID/FILE PHOTO

Traders work on the floor at the New York Stock Exchange in New York City, on May 17. U.S. stocks ended lower today, even as a strong revenue forecast for Nvidia fueled a surge in its shares, but that was overshadowed by economic data showing inflation was still a concern that could delay any Federal Reserve rate cuts.

NEW YORK >> U.S. stocks ended lower today, even as a strong revenue forecast for Nvidia fueled a surge in its shares, but that was overshadowed by economic data showing inflation was still a concern that could delay any Federal Reserve rate cuts.

Nvidia shares jumped 9.32% to close above the $1,000 per share mark for the first time and helped boost the Nasdaq and S&P 500 to intraday records in the early stages of trading after the AI chip company forecast quarterly revenue above estimates and announced a stock split.

But stocks lost ground after economic data showed U.S. price pressures increased in May even as business activity accelerated and as lower weekly jobless claims indicated the labor market remains on firm footing.

“It maybe speaks to the fact that people are now positioned for disappointing growth data, slower inflation data, rate cuts, and this morning… it caught people wrong footed,” said Brian Nick Senior Investment Strategist at The Macro Institute in New York.

“Anything that looks like good news is still being greeted as bad news, which shows we’re still in this sort of Fed relief rally period where the market’s generally happy that interest rates have stopped going up, but the worst thing would be for interest rates to continue going up at this point.”

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 605.78 points, or 1.53%, to 39,065.26, the S&P 500 lost 39.17 points, or 0.74%, to 5,267.84 and the Nasdaq Composite lost 65.51 points, or 0.39%, to 16,736.03.

Treasury yields moved higher after the data, which weighed heavily on small cap stocks, as the Russell 2000 dropped 1.6%, its biggest daily percentage drop since April 30.

The gains in Nvidia helped lift the S&P 500 tech index 0.56% as the sole advancer among the 11 major S&P sectors today. But despite the gains in Nvidia, chip stocks on the whole were lower, with the PHLX semiconductor index edging down 0.02% on the session.

The rally in equities to record highs this month has been fueled in part by AI optimism, a solid earnings season and renewed hopes for rate cuts by the Fed this year. Nvidia shares are up about 110% this year after surging roughly 240% in 2023.

Markets are now pricing in a 52.2% chance for a rate cut of at least 25 basis points (bps) in September, down from the nearly 67% a week ago, according to CME’s FedWatch Tool.

The Dow was dragged lower in part by a 7.55% tumble in Boeing after the U.S. planemaker forecast negative free cash flow in 2024 due to sluggish deliveries, which accounted for over 90 points to the downside for the blue-chip index. The 1.53% tumble was the largest daily percentage drop for the Dow since March 22, 2023.

DuPont announced plans to split into three publicly traded companies. Shares of the U.S. conglomerate ended up 0.48% but were sharply off earlier levels.

Ticketmaster-owner Live Nation slumped 7.81% after the U.S. Justice Department along with a group of 30 states and the District of Columbia today sued to break up the concert promoter.

Declining issues outnumbered advancers for a 5.13-to-1 ratio on the NYSE and for a 3.59-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.

The S&P index recorded 33 new 52-week highs and nine new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 139 new highs and 159 new lows.

Volume on U.S. exchanges was 13.70 billion shares, compared with the 12.19 billion average for the full session over the last 20 trading days.

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