3 months ago
Stock Market

Stocks - Dow Slumps as Investors Flee Risk on Fed Fears

Investing.com - The Dow closed sharply lower Monday as investors took some risk off the table ahead of the Federal

Investing.com - The Dow closed sharply lower Monday as investors took some risk off the table ahead of the Federal Reserve decision later this week.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 2.11%, the S&P 500 lost 2.08%, while the Nasdaq Composite dropped 2.27%.

With just a couple of days to go until the Federal Reserve makes its interest rate decision, along with projections on a range of measures including rate hikes, investors fled stocks fearing the Fed may overshoot on tightening.

The FOMC is expected to raise rates on Wednesday by 25 basis points to range of a 2.25% to 2.5%, but has come under fire for its plan to stick to gradual rate hikes, not least from President Donald Trump, who critized the central bank for "even considering" another rate hike, citing "virtually no inflation" and slowing growth in China.

In a sign of fears over Fed rate hikes, sectors seen as bond proxies due to their high dividend yields, such as utilities and real estate, led the selloff in the broader market, with the latter falling more than 3%.

Financials, meanwhile, gave up their intraday gains, pressured by weakness in Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS) after Malaysia filed criminal charges against the bank relating to bond sales the bank arranged and underwrote for sovereign wealth fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) in 2012 and 2013.

Energy also exacerbated the selloff on Wall Street, falling more than 2% after U.S. oil prices dropped to a 14-month low on signs of glut in U.S. supply.

Chipmaker Micron (NASDAQ:MU) gave up its early gains, turning the semis negative, as Wall Street sounded the alarm bell on the chipmaker ahead of its fiscal first quarter report due Tuesday.

S.G. Cowen slashed its price target on Micron's stock to $45 from $62 on expectations the chipmaker will materially lower guidance. Its shares fell 1% to $33.88 after trading as high as $35.22.

The economic front offered little solace amid signs of an ongoing slump in the U.S. housing market.

Sentiment among homebuilders fell to the lowest level since May 2015, according to a report from The National Association of Home Builders and Wells Fargo (NYSE:WFC).

On the corporate news front, Boeing (NYSE:BA) said it had acquired a majority stake in Embraer's commercial aircraft and services operations for $4.2 billion.

Elsewhere, health care sank after a judge in Texas ruled late Friday that the Affordable Care Act is unconstitutional. Wall Street analysts said, however, they expected the decision to be overturned.

"As we expect that this matter will be resolved within a 12-month window, we have elected to maintain our target prices," BMO Capital told clients in a research note Monday, CNBC reported.

Top S&P 500 Gainers and Losers Today:

Smith AO (NYSE:AOS), Stanley Black & Decker (NYSE:SWK) and Hartford Financial Services Group (NYSE:HIG) were among the top S&P 500 gainers for the session.

Xerox (NYSE:XRX), WestRock (NYSE:WRK) and Packaging Corp of America (NYSE:PKG) were among the worst S&P 500 performers of the session