US stocks slid on Wednesday as optimism for fast interest-rate cuts waned amid fresh jobs data and minutes from the latest Federal Reserve meeting showed the timing of rate cuts remains uncertain.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average (^DJI) fell more than 0.7%, or 285 points, while the benchmark S&P 500 (^GSPC) slipped about 0.8%. The Nasdaq Composite (^IXIC) dropped nearly another 1.2% the day after a bruising session that saw tech stocks shed almost 1.6%.
Further signs of a cooling US labor market greeted investors on Wednesday. New data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics showed there were 8.79 million job openings at the end of November, the lowest level since March 2021. Economists surveyed by Bloomberg had expected 8.82 million openings.
Hopes that the year-end market rally would roll on into 2024 has taken a battering as stock indexes and bond prices sank in tandem for their worst start to a year in decades. Bonds headed lower for fourth day in a row, pushing the 10-year Treasury yield (^TNX) up near 4% before reversing course in the afternoon. The 10-year Treasury yield closed Wednesday at roughly 3.91%.
Stocks were little changed after the release of the minutes from the most recent Federal Reserve meeting on Wednesday afternoon. The minutes revealed Fed officials believe “upside risks” to inflation have diminished.
“Almost all participants indicated that … a lower target range for the federal funds rate would be appropriate by the end of 2024,” the minutes said.
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