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Wall St slips as Powell sticks to hawkish stance

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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Federal Reserve Board Chair Jerome Powell speaks during a news conference following a two-day meeting of the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) in Washington, U.S., July 27, 2022. REUTERS/Elizabeth Frantz

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By Sruthi Shankar and Ankika Biswas

(Reuters) – U.S. stock indexes slipped on Thursday after a broad-based recovery in the previous session as Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell’s hawkish comments cemented bets of another large interest rate hike later this month.

The Fed is “strongly committed” to controlling inflation but there remains hope it can be done without the “very high social costs” involved in prior inflation fights, Powell said in comments at a Cato Institute conference.

“Clearly he’s maintained his existing hawkish tone, and markets still seem to be surprised, so they’re selling off of it,” said Randy Frederick, managing director of trading and derivatives for Charles Schwab (NYSE:) in Austin, Texas.

Wall Street’s main indexes climbed the most in about a month on Wednesday as bond yields retreated after a recent surge that was driven by expectations of higher interest rates. Still, the benchmark remains nearly 8% away from its August peak and is down about 17% year-to-date.

Hawkish remarks from Fed officials and recent data signaling strength in the U.S. economy have pushed money markets to bet that the Fed will hike interest rates by 75 basis points at this month’s meeting. Fed fund futures implied traders were pricing in an almost 90% chance of such a move.

Goldman Sachs (NYSE:), too, raised its policy rate forecast to a 75 basis point hike this month from 50 basis points previously.

Data showed the number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits fell last week to a three-month low, underscoring the robustness of the labor market even as the Fed raises interest rates.

Concerns over a recession, stirred by aggressive central bank rate hikes and signs of economic slowdown in China and Europe have dented the appetite for risk assets globally this year.

The European Central Bank raised its key interest rates by an unprecedented 75 basis points on Thursday and signaled further hikes. That follows large rate hikes from the Bank of Canada and the Reserve Bank of Australia earlier this week.

At 10:02 a.m. ET, the was down 103.90 points, or 0.33%, at 31,477.38, the S&P 500 was down 10.81 points, or 0.27%, at 3,969.06, and the was down 32.85 points, or 0.28%, at 11,759.05.

Eight of the 11 major S&P sectors were lower, with consumer staples and communication services leading losses. Financials rose 0.5%, tracking gains in yields. (US/)

GameStop Corp (NYSE:) rose 2.7% after the video game retailer reported a smaller-than-expected quarterly loss.

American Eagle Outfitters (NYSE:) Inc slumped 9.6% after the retailer missed second-quarter profit estimates and said it would pause quarterly dividend as it fortifies its finances against a hit from inflation.

Declining issues outnumbered advancers for a 1.85-to-1 ratio on the NYSE and a 1.42-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.

The S&P index recorded three new 52-week highs and seven new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 20 new highs and 90 new lows.

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