S&P 500, Nasdaq extend losses after ‘hawkish’ Fed minutes

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FILE PHOTO: The Wall St. sign is seen outside the NYSE in New York

NEW YORK (Reuters) – The S&P 500 and Nasdaq added to losses while the Dow turned lower on Wednesday after minutes from the last U.S. Federal Reserve meeting showed officials said the central bank may need to raise interest rates sooner than expected and reduce asset holdings quickly.

The technology sector was the biggest drag on the S&P 500 and was last down about 2%, and the Nasdaq was also down about 2%. The rate-sensitive real estate sector was down 2.6%, leading declines among sectors.

“This is more hawkish than expected. This shift towards hawkishness could be problematic for both stock and bond markets,” said David Carter, chief investment officer at Lenox Wealth Advisors in New York.

The minutes from the Fed’s Dec. 14-15 policy meeting offered more details on the central bank’s shift last month towards a more hawkish monetary policy. Policymakers said last month that the U.S. labor market was “very tight.”

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 94.63 points, or 0.26%, to 36,705.02, the S&P 500 lost 42.06 points, or 0.88%, to 4,751.48 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 319.48 points, or 2.04%, to 15,303.24.

Policymakers had agreed to hasten the end of their pandemic-era program of bond purchases, and issued forecasts anticipating three quarter-percentage-point rate increases during 2022.

(Additional reporting by Stephen Culp in New York and Devik Jain and Shreyashi Sanyal in Bengaluru; Editing by Maju Samuel)