Markets weak Wednesday on Fed anxiety

Diane Alter – AHN News Reporter

New York, NY, United States (AHN) – Stocks suffered a sharp sell-off Wednesday morning as investors grew increasingly anxious about what the markets might do without additional stimulus from the Federal Reserve.

Just after 10 a.m., the Dow Jones Industrial Average sank 147 points, the Standard & Poors 500 Index dropped 14 points and the NASDAQ fell 40 points.

The selling was broad-based across all sectors, with financials taking an especially strong hit.

Investors were reacting to Tuesday’s release of minutes from the central bank’s meeting last month, which made it clear that the Fed believes the economy is growing well enough on its own and doesn’t need Fed intervention as this time.

Some market participants had been hoping the Fed would move to another round of quantitative easing.

Also making investors jittery was ADP’s report that showed the private sector added jobs at a slower than expected pace in March.

In world markets, European stocks were lower despite the European Central Bank’s announcement Wednesday that it is holding its main interest rate steady at 1 percent. Tepid reaction to a bond offering in Spain also weighed on overseas investors.

Asia slumped 2.3 percent, and markets in Hong Kong and China were closed tor Tomb Sweeping holiday.

In currencies and commodities, the dollar gained against the euro and the British pound, but fell against the Japanese yen.

Oil slipped $ 1.05 to $ 102.69 a barrel. Gold was battered, dropping $ 46.40 to $ 1,625.60 a troy ounce.

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