US stocks fall again after hawkish Fed minutes

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. PHOTO: REUTERS

NEW YORK (AFP) - Wall Street stocks tumbled for a second straight session on Wednesday (April 6) as Federal Reserve meeting minutes added to expectations for aggressive central bank monetary tightening.

Several US Federal Reserve officials supported raising interest rates by half a percentage point in the future to combat inflation, the minutes showed.

Officials also discussed lowering their bond holdings by a total of US$95 million per month as soon as the upcoming May 3-4 meeting, according to the minutes.

The disclosures added to a stream of hawkish commentary from Fed officials, exacerbating worries that the central bank's efforts to rein in prices could harm economic growth.

"The markets remain unnerved by the economic implications of a highly aggressive Fed and a potential policy mistake," said a note from Charles Schwab.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.4 per cent to 34,496.51.

The broad-based S&P 500 slid 1 per cent to 4,481.15, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index shed 2.2 per cent to 13,888.82.

Large tech shares endured another bruising session, with Amazon, Facebook parent Meta and Microsoft all losing more than 3 per cent.

JetBlue Airways sank 8.7 per cent after announcing a US$3.6 billion (S$4.9 billion) bid for Spirit Airlines, threatening a merger between the carrier and Frontier Airlines. Spirit fell 2.4 per cent, while Frontier tumbled 11 per cent.

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