By Peter Nurse
Investing.com -- U.S. stocks are seen opening with heavy losses Friday, on elevated concerns that the Federal Reserve’s hawkish stance will result in severe economic slowdown.
The three major averages closed sharply lower Thursday, with the blue-chip Dow Jones Industrial Average dropping 764 points, or 2.3%, its worst daily performance since September. The broad-based S&P 500 fell 2.5%, on track for its worst annual performance since the global financial crisis, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite lost 3.2%.
Investors have been expecting some sign that the Federal Reserve would soon either pause interest rate hikes or pivot to rate cuts, but instead, the central bank signaled more rate increases to some, with its benchmark rate likely climbing above 5%, which is higher than expected just a few months ago.
This is causing a repricing of the stock markets, particularly as data on Thursday included a steeper-than-expected drop in retail sales , suggesting consumers were really feeling the pinch.
Investors are concerned that too much tightening from the Federal Reserve could trigger a hard economic landing next year, according to strategists at Bank of America.
There is more data to digest Friday, with December’s purchasing managers’ indexes within services and manufacturing . The indexes are key gauges of business conditions, and are expected to show both sectors still in contraction territory.
In the corporate sector, quarterly earnings are due from Darden Restaurants (NYSE: DRI ), which include the Olive Garden and LongHorn Steakhouse, as well as from recreational vehicle manufacturer Winnebago (NYSE: WGO ).
Crude oil prices fell Friday, continuing the previous session’s weakness on concerns surrounding future economic activity after the European Central Bank , the Bank of England , and the Swiss National Bank hiked interest rates on Thursday and pointed to more tightening to come, following the lead of the Fed.
Still, both benchmarks are on course to post weekly gains of over 4%, helped by supply constraints and by the likely resumption of full Chinese demand in 2023 as COVID curbs are lifted.
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