Shares fell sharply on Wall Street on Wednesday as Target’s sad results revived fears that inflation was hitting U.S. companies.
The S&P 500, a benchmark for many index funds, fell 4%.
Target lost a quarter of its value, pulling other retailers after it said its profits had halved in the last quarter as freight and transportation costs rose. This comes the day after Walmart called inflation its weak results.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 1164 points, or 3.6%, and the high-tech Nasdaq was down 4.7%. Treasury bond yields declined as investors sought safer land.
“A lot of people are trying to guess the bottom line,” said Sam Stoval, CFRA’s chief investment strategist. “Lowers happen when there is no one to sell to.”
Retailers had some of the biggest declines after Target collapsed after a grim quarterly earnings report.
Weak reports have raised concerns that rising inflation is putting more pressure on a wide range of businesses and could cut their profits more deeply.
The stock technology that topped the rally the day before was the biggest deterrent for the S&P 500. Apple lost 5.9%.
Overall, more than 95% of the shares of the S&P 500 fell. Utilities have also hampered the index, though not as heavily as the other 10 sectors, as investors have shifted money to investments that are considered less risky.
The disappointing report from Target comes a day after the market encouraged a Department of Commerce report showing retail sales growth in April, driven by rising car, electronics sales and rising restaurant costs.
Over the past six weeks, stocks have struggled to recover as investors have become increasingly concerned. Trade has been volatile on a daily basis, and any data on retailers and consumers is closely monitored by investors as they try to determine the impact of inflation and whether this will slow costs. A larger-than-expected cost blow could indicate slower economic growth ahead.
The Federal Reserve is trying to mitigate the impact of the highest inflation in four decades by raising interest rates. On Tuesday, Fed Chairman Jerome Powell told a Wall Street Journal conference that the US Federal Reserve “will have to consider more aggressive action” if inflation does not decrease after the previous rate hike.
Investors are worried that the central bank could cause a recession if it raises rates too high or too fast. Remaining concerned about global growth as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine puts even more pressure on oil and food prices, and blockades in China to stop COVID-19 cases exacerbate supply chain problems.
The United Nations is significantly lowering its global economic growth forecast for this year from 4% to 3.1%. The decline is broad and includes the world’s largest economies such as the US, China and the European Union.