NEW YORK, USA – Global stocks fell on Tuesday, September 20, while the yield on 2-year US Treasury notes rose to almost a 15-year high as investors prepared for the likelihood of another 75-basis-point (bps) interest rate hike from the Federal Reserve.
The Fed is set to announce its decision on Wednesday, September 21, at the end of a two-day policy meeting. Rate futures traders are pricing in an 81% chance of a 75-bps hike and a 19% probability of 100 bps of tightening.
Britain, Norway, Switzerland, and Japan also have monetary policy meetings this week.
Earlier on Tuesday, Sweden’s central bank raised interest rates by a larger-than-expected full percentage point to 1.75% and warned of more to come over the next six months.
The US 2-year note, which is highly sensitive to shifts in monetary policy expectations, earlier on Tuesday hit 3.992%. The last time its yield broke above 4% was October 18, 2007.
Yields on the benchmark 10-year Treasury shot to 3.604% before paring some gains. They were up 8 basis points to 3.569% after topping 3.5% for the first time in 11 years on Monday, September 19.
The Fed and other banks are trying to take an aggressive stance to tackle inflation, but investors have also worried about the impact of higher rates on the global economy.
On Wall Street, investors were cautious of making new bets.
“Investors are just selling the Fed,” said Jake Dollarhide, chief executive officer of Longbow Asset Management in Tulsa, Oklahoma. “All of the bad that was ignored, we’re getting all of that back. People are pessimistic.”
Shares of Ford Motor Company sank after the automaker said inflation-related supplier costs will run about $1 billion higher than expected in the current quarter.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 313.45 points, or 1.01%, to 30,706.23, the S&P 500 lost 43.96 points, or 1.13%, to 3,855.93, and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 109.97 points, or 0.95%, to 11,425.05.
The pan-European STOXX 600 index lost 1.09% and MSCI’s gauge of stocks across the globe shed 0.85%.
The dollar rose, trading near a two-decade high, as investors held firm on expectations of another aggressive rate hike by the Fed.
The dollar index was on track for its fifth weekly gain in six and was last up 0.5% at 110.13. It hit 110.79 this month for the first time since June 2002.
“Traders and investors are taking cover, aware that the dollar is behaving like a force of nature, and unwilling to face its wrath,” said Karl Schamotta, chief market strategist at Corpay in Toronto.
The rate hike by Sweden’s central bank was larger than analysts had expected, causing the Swedish crown to briefly spike against the euro and dollar.
Hikes from the Bank of England and Swiss central bank are expected on Thursday, September 22.
China’s central bank kept its benchmark lending rates unchanged at a monthly fixing on Tuesday, as expected.
Oil prices eased as the dollar stayed strong.
Brent crude futures settled down $1.38, or 1.5%, to $90.62 a barrel, while US crude for October delivery ended at $84.45, down $1.28, on the day of its expiration. The more active November contract settled down $1.42 to $83.94 a barrel. – Rappler.com