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Dow futures slump over 500 points as post-Fed meeting gains evaporate

U.S. stock index futures slumped early Thursday, as the gains seen after the Federal Reserve’s biggest interest rate hike since 1994 quickly faded.

What’s happening

Futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average

fell 571 points, or 1.9%, to 30080

Futures on the S&P 500

dropped 87 points, or 2.3%, to 3707.

Futures on the Nasdaq 100

decreased 318 points, or 2.7%, to 11312.

On Wednesday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average

rose 304 points, or 1%, to 30669, the S&P 500

increased 55 points, or 1.46%, to 3790, and the Nasdaq Composite

gained 271 points, or 2.5%, to 11099.

What’s driving markets

The three-quarters of a percentage point interest rate hike could be followed by another hike of that magnitude in July, or a half-point increase, according to Fed Chair Jerome Powell at a press conference Wednesday afternoon. The Fed also cut its economic growth forecast and lifted its unemployment outlook while not going as far as to predict recession.

“Of course, the record 75bp rate hike decision isn’t helping credit and stock markets trading higher today, but most of the current sell-off seems to be coming from major worries that the Fed is willing to accept worsening economic conditions, in the shape of an upcoming recession alongside higher unemployment (like four decades ago), in its fight against the pressure brought by rising prices,” said Pierre Veyret, technical analyst at ActivTrades.

Analysts also drew attention to the fact that not only did Powell express concern about last week’s data showing U.S. consumer prices shooting up by 8.6% in the 12 months ending May, but he also noted rising inflation expectations, as measured by the University of Michigan’s consumer sentiment report.

“Inflation expectations data had unnerved committee members,” said Ryan Djajasaputra, economist at Investec. “Powell stated that the Fed needed to take this development seriously.”

Meanwhile, the Swiss National Bank made a surprisingly large half-point rate hike Thursday, which buoyed the Swiss franc, while the Bank of England lifted rates by a quarter-point, with the central bank’s relatively cautious guidance sending the pound lower.

U.S. weekly jobless claims, May housing starts and the June Philadelphia Fed manufacturing survey are due at 8:30 a.m. Eastern.

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