Live stock market news updates: Stocks fluctuate in choppy trading after S&P 500 hits new lows

Live stock market news updates: Stocks fluctuate in choppy trading after S&P 500 hits new lows

U.S. stocks struggled to find their footing in choppy trading on Friday after a brutal sell-off that sent the S&P 500 to lows not seen since 2020.

The Bellwether index was about flat, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 120 points, or 0.4%. The technology-focused Nasdaq Composite gained 0.3%.

Investors close out a brutal month and quarter on Friday. The S&P 500’s 2.1% drop on Thursday marked its 49th decline of 1% or more this year, the most downward volatility since 2009. according to Charlie Bilello of Compound Advisors. For the month, the index fell by about 8%, the Dow by about 7% and the Nasdaq by 3%.

On the corporate front, shares of Carnival ( CCL ) fell 20% to their lowest level since 1993 after the cruise line reported annual bookings and quarterly guidance that disappointed Wall Street.

Nike ( NKE ) was also among the movers on Friday after the company reported a 44% rise in stock and outlined other macroeconomic headwinds weighing on the quarter. Shares fell 11% despite earnings that came in line with expectations and the company reaffirmed its full-year fiscal sales outlook.

And shares of chipmaker Micron Technology ( MU ) edged up about 2%, even as the company warned of tough times ahead for PC and smartphone demand and said it was scaling back investment. However, Micron is forecasting strong revenue growth in the second half of fiscal 2023 and predicts a recovery in demand by then.

In economic news, the Federal Reserve’s preferred gauge of inflation showed that prices rose more than expected in August. The personal consumption expenditures (PCE) price index rose 0.3% last month after falling in July. Year-on-year, the PCE price index rose by 6.2%. The so-called core PCE price index — which excludes the volatile food and energy components of the measure — rose 4.9% year-on-year in August, up from 4.7% in July.

Meanwhile, the Commerce Department reported on Friday that consumer spending rose 0.4% last month after falling 0.2% in July.

After the Bank of England’s sudden policy change earlier this week to resume bond purchases, investors in the US had fleeting hopes that the Federal Reserve may follow suit and ease the pace of its aggressive monetary policy. On Thursday, odds for a more modest 50 basis point hike at the central bank’s November meeting rose above 50% but retreated back to around 40% as traders weighed in on hawkish Fedspeak and the lowest number of jobless claims in five months.

US Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell arrives in Washington, USA on September 23, 2022 to hold an event on the theme “Fed Listens: Transitioning to the Post-pandemic Economy”. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

In an interview with CNBC on Thursday, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland President Loretta Mester said she and her colleagues would keep policy tight until inflation eased, differentiating the turmoil in the U.K. market from conditions in the U.S.

“The functioning of the market is incredibly important because if the markets are not functioning, you will not be able to achieve any of the objectives of monetary policy,” Mester said. “That’s different than worrying about the volatility of the markets,” he said, adding that there has been no dysfunction in the US markets so far.

And on Friday, Fed Vice Chairman Lael Brainard indicated that the central bank would keep rates high in the face of continued high inflation.

“Monetary policy will need to be tight for some time to ensure that inflation returns to target,” she said in prepared remarks for a speech at a conference in New York. “For these reasons, we are determined to avoid an early withdrawal.”

Alexandra Semenova is a reporter for Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter @alexandraandnyc

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