Stocks dive late, snapping 10-month winning streak

Stocks dive late, snapping 10-month winning streak

Worries about potentially higher rates and inflation have reintroduced markets to volatility following their unusually calm run in 2017 and early this year.

Investors also kept a close eye on Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell, who is scheduled to deliver the semi-annual monetary policy testimony before the Senate Banking Committee on Thursday.

"The bombshell is the announcement about half an hour ago about the proposed tariffs on steel and aluminum industries", said Peter Tuz, president of Chase Investment Counsel in Charlottesville, Virginia.

The S&P 500 closed down 1.1% at 2,713.80.

The ASX 200 year to date was down 0.8% at the end of February - yesterday's fall took that to 1.5% and today's drop could push it well past 2%.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average declined 381 points, or 1.5%, to 25,029, the S&P 500 lost 30 points, or 1.11%, to 2,714 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 57 points, or 0.78%, to 7,273. Some investors took that as a signal that the Fed may get more aggressive on rate increases, which sent stocks down and Treasury yields higher.

"It's reasonable for markets to start repricing a possibility of higher inflation and higher interest rates", Sturkenboom said. But shares of companies that use lots of steel fell, as did exporters.

Steel makers were sharply higher following reports that the government would announce tariffs on imported steel.

In Canada, the S&P/TSX composite index was down 48.73 points to 15,393.95 in a largely broad-based decline.

For the month, the Dow lost 4.3% and the S&P 500 fell 3.9%.

More news: Vladimir Putin Says He Will 'Never' Extradite Russians Indicted in Mueller Probe

Bond prices rose. The yield on the 10-year Treasury fell to 2.80 percent.

The S&P 500 index finished down1.3% at 2,677, falling beneath a psychologically significant level at 2,678.

An afternoon recap of the day's most important business news, delivered weekdays. It was down as much as 10 percent earlier.

BUSY ECONOMIC DAY: A raft of reports on the economy provided a mixed picture.

"There is uncertainty around that and it's going to continue for the next several months". Last year, the worst weekly loss was just 1.4 per cent.

Other reports showed that manufacturing is growing at its fastest rate in almost 14 years, while construction spending was weaker than economists expected last month.

Patterson Companies fell to the biggest loss in the S&P 500 after it reported weaker earnings for the latest quarter than analysts expected and said that its chief financial officer was leaving. Shares of the company, which sells dental and animal health products, dropped $7.57, or 24 percent, to $24.01.

Crude oil was down 2.5% at $61.46. Brent crude, the global standard, rose 54 cents to $64.37 a barrel.

The dollar dipped to 106.24from 106.66 yen late Wednesday. The euro inched up to $1.2207 from $1.2203, and the British pound slipped to $1.3732 from $1.3771.

The Standard & Poor's 500 index fell 3 points, or 0.1 percent, to 2,710. In Asia, Japan's Nikkei 225 lost 1.6 percent and Hong Kong's Hang Seng rose 0.6 percent.

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