Wall Street: Wall Street opens lower, US inflation at a 40-year peak

PARIS (Reuters) – The New York Stock Exchange opened lower on Thursday after the publication of consumer prices in the United States for the month of February which showed a further acceleration in inflation over one year, the largest in 40 years, while the Ukrainian conflict continues.

In early trading, the Dow Jones index lost 348.7 points, or 1.05%, to 32,937.55 points and the broader Standard & Poor’s 500 fell -1.02% to 4,234.14 points.

The Nasdaq Composite lost 1.42%, or 188.12 points, to 13,067.418.

An hour before the opening of Wall Street, the Labor Department announced that the consumer price index (CPI) rose 0.8% last month and 7.9% year on year, the level the highest since January 1982.

The CPI index, excluding energy and food products, known as core inflation (“core CPI”), for its part rose by 0.5% over one month and by 6.4% on an annual basis, the highest rate since August 1982.

While these numbers are broadly in line with expectations, economists expect inflation to pick up further in the second quarter amid soaring commodity prices amid the Russia-Ukraine crisis as the Federal Reserve American (Fed) is due to meet on March 15 and 16.

Traders expect 95% of a 25 basis point rate hike from the Fed this month.

“The inflation situation is not going to change anytime soon,” predicts Jimmy Lee, managing director of asset manager Wealth Consulting Group.

“Managing inflation is going to be even more complicated for the Fed while oil prices are going to have an impact on many consumers,” he adds, referring to the war in Ukraine where no diplomatic progress seems to be made. dawn.

After two consecutive sessions of decline, the CBOE volatility index started to rise again, by 0.4%.

In values, the digital heavyweights are declining, such as Apple (-2.3%), Microsoft (-1.9%), Alphabet (-1.3%), Meta Platforms (-2.2% ) and Tesla (-1.4%).

The e-commerce giant Amazon, however, gained 4.2% thanks to a 20-fold split in the nominal value of its shares and a new $10 billion (€9.06 billion) share buyback plan. euros).

On the upside, oil groups such as Schlumberger (+1.8%) and Halliburton (+2.8%) benefit from the rise in oil prices, the barrel of Brent being at 116.48 dollars (+4.9%) and that of American light crude (West Texas Intermediate, WTI) at 113 dollars (+4.05%).

(Written by Claude Chendjou, edited by Sophie Louet)

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