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Stocks fall Thursday as high inflation weakens consumer spending

MoneyWatch: Market recap for June 27th, 2022
MoneyWatch: Market recap for June 27th, 2022 04:11

Stocks fell Thursday as new consumer spending data reveals Americans are paring back spending in the face of painfully high inflation.

The government's report revealed that consumer spending rose at a sluggish 0.2% rate from April to May, weakening in the face of high inflation. The fastest price increases in four decades are putting financial pressure American households, working- and middle-class people in particular.

The S&P ended the day down 33 points, or 0.9%, closing at 3,785. The Dow slipped 0.8% and the tech-heavy Nasdaq lost 1.3%.

On Wednesday, the government confirmed that the U.S. economy shrank 1.6% in the first quarter, downgrading a previous estimate.

Investors are uneasy about signs the biggest global economy might be facing a recession due to interest rate hikes imposed to cool surging inflation.

Consumer confidence declines amid ongoing inflation concerns 04:09

"Equities demand could remain muted for at least the next four to six months as interest rate hikes work through the U.S. economy," Stephen Innes of SPI Asset Management said in a report.

Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell, speaking at a European Central Bank meeting in Portugal, said Wednesday there is "no guarantee" inflation can be tamed without hurting the job market.

U.S. jobless benefit claims for the week ended June 25 were slightly lower than the week before, although layoffs have risen from a 50-year low in March. There have been more layoffs in industries that have cooled lately, such as real estate, technology and cryptocurrency.

The global economy also has been roiled by Russia's invasion of Ukraine, which pushed up prices of oil, wheat and other commodities.

In energy markets Thursday, benchmark U.S. crude lost 96 cents to $108.82 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. 

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