Dow falls 700 points to session lows on hotter-than-anticipated inflation data: Live updates

Traders work during the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) on February 28, 2020 at Wall Street in New York City.

Johannes Eisele | AFP | Getty images

Stocks dropped on Tuesday after hotter-than-expected inflation data for January spiked Treasury yields and raised doubts that the Federal Reserve would be able to cut rates several times this year, a key part of the bull case for the equity market.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 749 points, or 1.9%, its biggest drop since February 21 2023, when it lost 697 points to fall 2.06%. The S&P 500 slid 2%, while the Nasdaq Composite fell 2.3%.

The consumer price index rose 0.3% in January from December. CPI was up 3.1% on an annual basis. Economists polled by Dow Jones expected CPI to have increased by 0.2% month over month in January and 2.9% from a year earlier.

Core prices, which exclude volatile food and energy components, rose 0.4% month over month and 3.9% from a year ago. Core CPI was expected to have increased 0.3% in January and 3.7% from a year earlier, respectively.

“This may well come as a easy excuse to take some of the froth out of the top of this market that’s been universally higher thus far this year,” said Art Hogan, chief market strategist at B. Riley Financial. “The CPI was, as reported today, just a touch hotter than expectations and proof positive that we’re not on a linear path, but we’re on a path headed lower.”

The 2-year Treasury yield jumped above 4.63%, and the 10-year yield topped 4.29% following the CPI data. Tech shares including Microsoft and Amazon, which have steered the market run to record highs as rates declined, led the losses in trading Tuesday. Microsoft slid 2.2%, while Amazon fell 2.1%.

In corporate news, JetBlue Airways spiked 20% after activist investor Carl Icahn reported a nearly 10% stake in the airline. Toymaker Hasbro lost 3% after missing analyst expectations for the fourth quarter. Shares of Avis Budget Group slipped 22% on the back of disappointing fourth-quarter revenue.

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