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US stocks plunge as inflation accelerates more than expected to the hottest rate since 1981

Friday’s inflation print shocked investors.

Xinhua News Agency/Getty Images

  • Stocks tumbled Wednesday as the latest CPI data clocked in at 9.1%, higher than the expected 8.8%. 
  • The hot inflation rate signals that the Fed is unlikely to ease up on interest rate hikes.
  • Meanwhile, crude is heading for its fifth consecutive week of losses. 

US stocks dropped Wednesday and the Dow Jones Industrial Average shed nearly 400 points as June inflation data came in higher than expected.

Wednesday’s consumer price index data showed priced rose 9.1% year-over-year, above the expected 8.8% and higher than May’s 8.6% reading. That’s good for the fastest rate of inflation since November 1981. 

Core CPI, which doesn’t include food and energy prices, came in at 5.9%, above the expected 5.7%.

The accelerating inflation rate signals that the Fed is unlikely to ease its interest rate hikes, even after last month’s 75 basis point hike, which was the largest since 1994. 

Here’s where US indexes stood as the market opened 9:30 a.m. on Wednesday: 

  • S&P 500: 3,767.33, down 1.35% 
  • Dow Jones Industrial Average: 30,610.69, down 1.2% (370.64 points)
  • Nasdaq Composite: 11,076.10, down 1.67% 

Gas prices are weighing on drivers and the EIA now expects demand to drop as Americans change up their driving habits. The agency forecasts gasoline demand in the US to hit 9.07 million barrels per day in July, 2.2% lower than last month’s estimate.

As the US dollar and the euro hit one-to-one equivalence on Tuesday, an economist told Insider that the euro could still have room to fall, given that the European Central Bank may not make aggressive policy maneuvers like the Federal Reserve. These are three other major currencies to watch in the meantime. 

Overseas, Germany is set to stop buying Russian coal and oil this year in order to pull back its reliance on the country’s energy supplies, according to deputy finance minister Joerg Kukies. In his words: “We will be off Russian coal in a few weeks.”

Meanwhile, recession fears have continued to grip oil markets. The global oil benchmark is headed for its fifth straight loss, the longest stretch of weekly losses in 2022. 

Oil prices inched higher Wednesday, with West Texas Intermediate up 0.803% to $96.61 a barrel. Brent crude, the international benchmark, moved up 0.38% to $99.89 a barrel. 

Gold edged lower 0.586% to 1,714.70 per ounce. The 10-year yield rose 5.9 basis points to 3.017%.

Bitcoin fell 1.32% to $19,152.01.

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