US stocks tumble amid rate hike concerns

New York, Nov 13 (IANS) US stocks tumbled as worries about a year-end rate hike and a plunge in oil prices weighed on market sentiment.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average shed 254.15 points, or 1.44 percent, to 17,448.07 on Thursday, Xinhua reported.

The S&P 500 dipped 29.03 points, or 1.40 percent, to 2,045.97. The Nasdaq Composite Index slid 61.94 points, or 1.22 percent, to 5,005.08.

As the US jobs report for October came out much stronger than expected, it is widely believed that the Federal Reserve will pull the trigger on an interest rate hike next month.

On Thursday, fresh remarks from several Fed officials further strengthened the case for a December rate lift-off.

Chicago Fed president Charles Evans said in a speech that the Fed is close to reaching its employment mandate, but added he is less confident about reaching the inflation goal within a reasonable time frame.

Richmond Fed president Jeffrey Lacker said he does not think that recent low inflation “implies a more permanent departure from our target”.

St. Louis Fed president James Bullard said the Fed is quite close to normal with an unemployment rate of five percent and inflation only slightly below target.

Meanwhile, the market took a hit by a sharp decline in oil prices, which plunged Thursday after the US Energy Information Administration (EIA) reported a larger-than-expected increase in US crude stockpiles last week.

The West Texas Intermediate for December delivery moved down $1.18 to settle at $41.75 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, while Brent crude for December delivery decreased $1.75 to close at $44.06 a barrel on the London ICE Futures Exchange.

Dragged by falling oil prices, the energy sector sank 2.39 percent as the biggest loser among the S&P 500’s ten sectors.

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