The stock markets in the United States declined significantly primarily due to the comments from Federal Reserve officials that an interest rate hike is likely to happen this year.

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Today, Federal Reserve Bank of New York President William C Dudley said it is possible for the Committee to “normalize monetary policy” once it is satisfied with the economic conditions.

“I will be evaluating the incoming information to see if it confirms my expectation that growth will be sufficient to further tighten the U.S. labor market,” said Dudley during a speech in New York.

He added, “The economy looks to be in decent shape and is likely to continue to grow at a slightly above-trend pace. Spare labor resources are shrinking. But there still is some risk that the growth pace could slow as the trade sector acts as a drag on aggregate economic activity.”

[drizzle]On the other hand, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis President James Bullard urged the central bank to raise the interest rates. Charles Evan, the President of the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, said any rate increase should be gradual and less than 1% by the end of 2016.

David Lafferty, the chief market strategist at Natixis Global Asset Management, told Bloomberg that investors’ expectations of tighter monetary policy resulted in a mini rally the dollar. He also noted that the expectations of inflation appeared to be fairly-anchored, which added pressure to commodities.

He said, “The fact it’s all commodities seeing weakness tells you it’s a dollar and Fed-related story.”

The Bloomberg Commodity Index declined 0.9%, its seventh day and longest losing streak in three months.

U.S. Markets

  • Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) – 17, 448.01 (+1.44%)
  • S&P 500- 2,046.01 (+1.40%)
  • NASDAQ- 5,005.08 (+1.22%)
  • Russell 2000- 1,156.40 (+1.84%)

European Markets

  • EURO STOXX 50 Price EUR- 3,387.70 (-1.76%)
  • FTSE 100 Index- 6,178.68 (-1.88%)
  • Deutsche Borse AG German Stock Index DAX- 10,782.63 (-1.15%)

Asia-Pacific Markets

  • Nikkei 225- 19,697.77 (+0.03%)
  • Hong Kong Hang Seng Index- 22,888.92 (+2.40%)
  • Shanghai Shenzhen CSI 300 Index- 3,795.32 (-1.00%)

Stocks in Focus

The stock price of Advance Auto Parts declined more than 15% to $164.67 per share. The company announced that its CEO Darren Jackson will retire in January. He will be succeeded by the company’s president George Sherman as CEO.

The shares of Fitbit dropped more than 7% to $31.67 a share. It seems that the company was affected by the launching of Xiaomi’s Mi Band, a fitness tracker that only costs $15.

Flowers Foods plummeted more than 11% to $23.52 per share. The company reduced its earnings outlook for 2015 in the range of $0.96 to $0.98 per share. Flower Foods previously expected to achieve full-year earnings of around $0.96 to $1.01 per share.

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