Dow Drops 240+ on First Day of Q2

The Dow Jones Industrial Average dipped Monday to kick off the second quarter, with traders weighing fresh U.S. inflation data amid fears that the market rally could slow down.

The 30-stock index crumbled 240.52 points to 39,566.85.

The S&P 500 dipped 10.58 points to 5,243.77.

The NASDAQ gained 17.37 points to 16,396.83.

Investors remain cautious about the pace of the Federal Reserve’s rate-cutting timeline this year and how soon central bankers will be able to meet their 2% inflation target. Fed chair Jerome Powell said Friday that economic growth remains strong and inflation is still above target.

The major averages are coming off a winning first quarter. The S&P 500 jumped 10.2% for its best first-quarter performance since 2019, while the Dow added 5.6%. The NASDAQ popped 9.1%.

Markets also wrapped up a winning March and their fifth consecutive positive month, with the S&P leaping 3.1%, and Dow rising 2.1%. The NASDAQ edged up 1.8% for the month.

The personal consumption expenditures price index excluding food and energy, released Friday during the market closure for Good Friday, showed inflation rose 2.8% in February, which is in line with expectations. The inflation gauge closely watched by the Federal Reserve also rose 0.3% from a month ago, the Commerce Department said.

Fed Chair Jerome Powell also said Friday that policymakers don’t need to rush an interest rate cut with economic growth still strong and inflation above target.

Prices for the 10-year Treasury moved sharply backward, hiking yields to 4.32% from Thursday’s 4.21%. Treasury prices and yields move in opposite directions.

Oil prices improved 76 cents at $83.93 U.S. a barrel.

Gold prices picked up $27.30 to $2,265.70 U.S. an ounce.

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