The S&P 500 fell Tuesday, on the anniversary of its post-pandemic bounce, as supportive remarks from Federal Reserve chair Jerome Powell and U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen were overshadowed by global growth worries amid fresh lockdowns in Europe.
The S&P 500 was down 0.66%, and has rebounded about 80% higher since March 23. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.82%, or 268 points, the Nasdaq Composite was down 0.96%.
Powell shrugged off inflationary pressure and continued to back the Fed's accommodate monetary policy stance, saying the rise in price pressures this year will likely be a "one-off."
The U.S. 10-year yield remained at one-week lows near 1.65%, though it had dipped to the 1.30%-to-1.40% level for support.
Powell's doubling down on lower for longer monetary policy comes just a day after more hawkish members of the Federal Open Market Committee, the fed's rate setting arm, signaled that the first rate could hike could come sooner than 2024.
Dallas Federal Reserve President Robert Kaplan, a non-voting FOMC member, told CNBC Tuesday that he was one of four Fed officials who backed first benchmark rate hike next year at the Fed’s policy meeting last week.
The move lower in rates kept the bulk of megacap tech stocks above the flatline.
Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) was flat, but Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT), Amazon.com (NASDAQ:AMZN), Facebook (NASDAQ:FB), and Google-parent Alphabet (NASDAQ:GOOGL) were in the green.
The broader market was held back, however, by a plunge in oil prices as bullish bets on energy were reined in following fresh lockdowns in Europe that threaten global growth and energy demand.
Nov (NYSE:NOV), Halliburton (NYSE:HAL) and Marathon Oil (NYSE:MRO) were among the biggest decliners with the latter down 5%.
The lockdown in Europe hurt the reopening trade – bullish bets on stocks tied to the progress of the economic reopening – with airlines and cruise lines sharply lower.
United Airlines Holdings (NASDAQ:UAL), American Airlines Group (NASDAQ:AAL), Carnival (NYSE:CCL) and Norwegian Cruise (NYSE:NCLH) were sharply lower.
On the economic front, housing market activity continued to ease as new home sales fell by a more-than-expected 18.2% to 775,000 units in February.
"[R]ising mortgage rates and rising materials costs could push more first-time buyers out of the market," Yelena Maleyev, an economist at Grant Thornton said.
In other news, AstraZeneca (NASDAQ:AZN) fell after the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases said the company may have included "outdated information" in its Covid-19 vaccine trial. AstraZeneca said it would published more data on its U.S. clinical trial within 48 hours.