US Big Tech Stocks Down 13% in April, Worst Month for Wall Street Since 2008

© AP Photo / John MinchilloA Wall Street sign is shown in the Financial District, Wednesday, Oct. 13, 2021, in the Manhattan borough of New York.
A Wall Street sign is shown in the Financial District, Wednesday, Oct. 13, 2021, in the Manhattan borough of New York. - Sputnik International, 1920, 29.04.2022
NEW YORK (Sputnik) - Wall Street’s Big Tech sector lost 13% in April, leading US stocks markets to their worst month since the financial crisis of 2008, amid fears that a Federal Reserve bent on defeating inflation could push the economy into recession with aggressive rate hikes beginning next week.
Wall Street’s three major stock indexes - the S&P 500 for the top 500 stocks, the broad-based Dow Jones Industrial Average and the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite - closed Friday’s trade down by an average of 3.5%. For all of April, the S&P 500 slumped almost 9%, becoming the second biggest loser after Nasdaq's 13% dive, while the Dow lost 5%.
“US stocks did not stand a chance after mega-cap tech earnings disappointed,” Ed Moya, analyst at the online trading portal OANDA, said. “Rate hike bets continue to pile up ahead of next week’s FOMC decision. Surging wage pressures could be what is needed to make the Fed even more aggressive with tightening at the June and July Fed meetings.”
After slashing US interest rates to nearly zero at the height of the coronavirus outbreak, the FOMC, which stands for the policy-making Federal Open Market Committee of the US central bank, raised rates by 25 basis points, or a quarter point, last month. That hike brought key lending rates to between 0.25% and 0.5%.
Many FOMC members have since concluded that the March interest rate hike was too tame to rein in inflation galloping at 40-year highs. They are pushing for “one to two” 50-basis point hikes in the near term to get a better grip on fighting inflation. Expectations are that the FOMC meeting on May 3-4 will agree on the first of such 50-bps hikes.
As of Friday, some money market traders were even pricing in a 75-basis point, or three-quarter point, hike at the June FOMC meeting.
View of Manhattan, New York - Sputnik International, 1920, 28.04.2022
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All in, the FOMC members are considering as many as seven rate hikes this year. They expect monetary tightening to continue into 2023 if inflation does not drop from current levels of around 6-8% per annum to the central bank's desired level of 2%.
But economists caution that the economy could go into recession if interest rates go up too much, too fast.
The last time the US economy slipped into recession, which is technically defined as two straight quarters of negative growth, was in the aftermath of the 2020 COVID-19 outbreak. While the economy rebounded 5.7% in 2021 -US US  growing at its fastest pace since 1984 - it fell by 1.4% in the first quarter of this year. If it contracts in the second quarter as well, the United States would automatically be in recession.
The University of Michigan said in its closely-followed consumer poll released on Friday that many Americans think the Fed will have a hard time succeeding with its goal of providing a soft landing for the economy from aggressive rate hikes planned by the central bank.
“The goal of a soft landing will be more difficult to achieve given the uncertainties that now prevail, raising prospects for a halt, or even a temporary reversal, in the Fed's interest rate policies,” Richard Curtain, chief economist of the so-called UMich Consumer Surveys, said in a summary of the university’s April poll.
In Friday’s session, the S&P 500 finished down 156 points, or 3.6%, at 4,131. Aside from its 9% decline for the month, the index lost 3% for the week and was off 13% for the year.
The Dow settled down 939 points, or 2.8%, at 32,977. Its 6% decline for April aside, the index lost 2.5% on the week and was off 9% on the year.
The Nasdaq closed down 537 points, or 4.2%, at 12,334. Aside from its 13% tumble for the month, the index lost almost 4% on the week and was down 21% for the year.
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