US stocks saw their worst drop for the month Wednesday after hotter than expected inflation data showed that prices are rising at the fastest rate in decades.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average ended lower by 240 points. The Nasdaq composite and the benchmark S&P 500 also closed lower.
The yield on 10-year Treasury rose to 1.551% Wednesday compared to Tuesday’s 1.431%. Bond yields and prices move in opposite directions.
Here’s where US indexes stood shortly after the 4:00 p.m. ET close on Wednesday:
The Consumer Price Index – a key measure of nationwide inflation – gained 6.2% on a year-over-year basis, the fastest rate of annual inflation since 1990. It also showed price growth picking up from September’s one-year jump.
CPI rose 0.9% in October, higher than the 0.6% estimated by economists surveyed by Bloomberg. The reading marks an acceleration from the 0.4% gain seen in September and the largest one-month jump since 2008.
Rising inflationary pressures are dragging both equities and bonds, and may prompt the Federal Reserve to hike interest rates earlier than anticipated, according to Lon Erickson, portfolio manager at Thornburg Investment Management.
“Treasuries and global developed sovereign yields have moved higher as the market prices in Fed taper and future Fed Funds Rate hikes,” Erickson said in a note Wednesday.
Investors believe the Fed will be patient, he added, but each month it seems the central bank’s “transitory” thesis is being tested.
But for Mike Loewengart, managing director of investment strategy at E-Trade Financial, the central bank stands by its view that inflation will be short-lived despite pricing pressures across the board. It is, however, “stickier than initially predicted,” he noted.
“Hotter than expected inflation is obviously not what most want to see-but keep in mind there is no shortage of factors that could reverse the trajectory in due time,” he said in a note Wednesday.
In cryptocurrencies, bitcoin notched a new all-time high of $69,000 Wednesday moments after US inflation data showed prices are surging at the fastest rate in 30 years.
Oil prices slid after the Energy Information Administration report showed inventories rose last week.
Gold, another widely viewed inflation hedge, edged higher by 0.91% to $1,846.53 per ounce.