Stocks wobbled but ultimately ended lower on Wednesday, as the fastest pace of inflation in decades stoked bets that the Federal Reserve will be forced to deliver a much larger than expected 1% rate hike later this year.
The S&P 500 closed down 0.5%, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.7%, or 208 points, the Nasdaq fell 0.1%.
U.S. inflation rose 9.1% in June to hit a fresh four-decade high, topping economists’ forecast for a 9% rise, driven by an 11.2% leap in gas prices and a 1.0% increase in food prices.
This report will make for very uncomfortable reading at the Fed,” it added.
US inflation roared again to a fresh four-decade high last month, likely strengthening the Federal Reserve’s resolve to aggressively raise interest rates that risks upending the economic expansion.
The widely followed inflation gauge increased 1.3% from a month earlier, the most since 2005, reflecting higher gasoline, shelter and food costs. The so-called core CPI, which strips out the more volatile food and energy components, advanced 0.7% from the prior month and 5.9% from a year ago, above forecasts.
The red-hot inflation figures reaffirm that price pressures are rampant and widespread throughout the economy and taking a bigger toll on real wages, which are down the most ever in data back to 2007. The inflation data will keep Fed officials on an aggressive policy course to rein in demand, and adds pressure to President Joe Biden and congressional Democrats whose support has slumped ahead of midterm elections.
“Rather than cooling down, inflation is heating up,” Sal Guatieri, senior economist at BMO Capital Markets, said in a note. “While a pullback in gasoline costs in July and reported retail discounting will help tamp down the flames, the broad pressure in the core rate, led by plenty of inertia in rents, suggests inflation may not peak for a while, and might remain stubbornly high for longer than anticipated.”
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