Stocks sank Friday as investors absorbed another round of corporate earnings and increasingly hawkish comments from Fed Chair Jerome H. Powell on rate hikes, putting the major U.S. indexes on track for a weekly decline.
Powell dampened sentiments after signaling that the central bank could push through bigger interest rate increases to bring inflation under control.
“It is appropriate in my view to be moving a little more quickly” to raise interest rates, he told CNBC on Thursday. “I also think there is something to be said for front-end loading any accommodation one thinks is appropriate … I would say 50 basis points will be on the table for the May meeting.”
International markets also suffered losses. The European Dax and Stoxx indexes fell 2.5 percent and 1.7 percent, respectively.
Oil prices have held steady over the past week, smoothing out some of the volatility that has rattled energy markets since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. West Texas Intermediate crude, the U.S. benchmark, was down 1.4 percent to around $102 per barrel after hovering there for most of the past week. Brent crude, the global benchmark, was down 1.7 percent to $106 per barrel.