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United States stocks close sharply lower on rate worries

07 March 2018

United States 10-year treasury bond (UST) yields have fallen for the third consecutive day to 2.864 per cent. Concerns about the possibility of higher inflation and interest rates have rocked markets since the S&P 500 set its latest record high in late January. The Nasdaq composite was up 10 points, or 0.1 percent, to 7,283.

Stocks were higher earlier in the day after Powell appeared to calm one of the market's main worries when he said that he does not see inflation in workers' wages "at a point of acceleration".

USA stocks had been higher earlier in the day after Federal Reserve chairman Jerome Powell testified before Congress that he does not see inflation in workers' wages "at a point of acceleration", easing trading anxieties following his comments earlier in the week many interpreted as a signal the Fed may raise rates more quickly than expected to beat down inflation.

The index lost 3.9 percent in February.

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KEEPING SCORE: The Standard & Poor's 500 index was down 27 points, or 1 percent, at 2,685 as of 1:25 p.m.

An afternoon recap of the day's most important business news, delivered weekdays. 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. Shares of the company, which sells dental and animal health products, dropped $7.57, or 24 percent, to $24.01.

On Tuesday, Powell gave an upbeat view on the USA economy and said data had strengthened his confidence on inflation.

Ryan Detrick, senior market strategist at LPL Financial, notes that over the 10- and 20-year periods March and April are the two strongest months of the year.

Dental products supplier Patterson Companies plunged 23 percent in the first few minutes of trading Thursday after issuing weak quarterly results.

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COMMODITIES: Oil prices continue to drop following a report on Wednesday that showed more crude supplies in inventories last week than analysts expected. Benchmark U.S. crude fell 65 cents to settle at $60.99 per barrel.

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%. Brent crude, the global standard, lost 90 cents to $63.83 a barrel.

European markets closed mostly lower: London's FTSE 0.1 per cent, Paris closed flat and Frankfurt was 0.3 per cent lower.

Market anxiety has also eased, with CBOE's volatility index (VIX) falling 1.3 per cent to 16.28.

The dollar dipped to 106.24from 106.66 yen late Wednesday. In Asia, Japan's Nikkei 225 lost 1.6 percent and Hong Kong's Hang Seng rose 0.6 percent.

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United States stocks close sharply lower on rate worries