Stocks record their worst month of the year

Stocks record their worst month of the year
Richard Drew/AP

Wall Street logged its worst month of the year in September, and also ended its final trading day of the quarter in the red.

Stocks have been extremely choppy in September, as investors grappled with an abundance of issues: high inflation expectations, rising bond yields, the pace of the economic recovery, America’s debt ceiling and China’s corporate debt levels.

On Thursday, stocks opened higher but went into reverse around midday before finishing the day sharply lower. The Dow closed down 1.6%, or nearly 550 points, while the S&P 500 fell 1.2%.

The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite ended down by 0.4%. While the market’s weakness was broad-based, the hardest hit stocks were in the financial, industrial and consumer sectors — not tech..

September was the worst month this year for all three indexes.

And for the S&P 500 and Nasdaq, this month was their poorest performances since the start of the pandemic. The Dow recorded its worst month since last October.

The Dow and the Nasdaq both ended in the red for the quarter, marking their first loss since the first quarter of 2020 when the pandemic first hit, while the S&P managed to eke out a 0.2% gain.

Stocks had last sold off Tuesday after Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell told lawmakers that high inflation could stay around for a while longer.

US Treasury bond yields, which are sensitive to inflation forecasts because they track interest rate expectations, jumped earlier in the week. And on Thursday, the 10-year government bond edged slightly lower to yield 1.52% around the time of the stock market close. Bond prices and yields move in opposition to each other.

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