Stocks in the United States fell to their lowest level in six weeks as concerns grew that corporate earnings would be unable to resist the Federal Reserve's increased efforts to rein in spiraling inflation.
Treasury bonds, the currency, and oil prices all increased, while European gas prices soared following reports of a flow halt.
Markets are jittery due to the potential of slower economic growth combined with persistent inflation. The pandemic, supply-chain disruptions, Fed tightening, and Russia's grinding war in Ukraine are among the many threats. The greatest relative cost of loss-protecting put contracts in two years reflects the search for portfolio buffers in the United States.
Stock bulls should take heart from the fact that about 80% of companies in the United States have outperformed profit projections, including GE, United Parcel Service Inc., and Pepsico Inc. However, shares are being weighed down by weak expectations, including those from Jetblue airlines corp.
Stocks in Europe fell in lockstep with those in the United States, wiping out gains made earlier in the session as a result of encouraging corporate reports and a boost in sentiment from China's commitment to support its slumping economy.
The virus is being tested over most of Beijing, fueling fears of an unprecedented lockdown that might stifle global growth. Concerns about inflationary pressures, according to Dennis Debusschere, founder of 22v research, may be exaggerated.
An Asia-pacific equities index rose for the first time in four sessions, boosted by a 3% rise in technology stocks in Hong Kong. China's mainland stock exchanges fell, but not to the depths seen on Monday. Short covering pushed the yen higher.
The S&P 500 fell 2.8%, and the Nasdaq 100 fell 3.9%, as investors awaited earnings announcements from Microsoft Corp. and Alphabet Inc. These will provide the most up-to-date information on how corporations in the United States are dealing with the first central bank tightening in three years. Tesla inc. sank after Musk pledged to use his riches to buy Twitter inc., while General Electric Co. fell after its earnings prediction disappointed.