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U.S. Dow hits bear market territory on inflation woes

A trader works at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, the United States, on Aug. 26, 2022. (Xinhua)

The Dow ended below the 30,000 mark and at one point fell to a new low for this year. The losses reflect investors' fears that inflation is not fading as fast as they thought, which has prompted the U.S. Federal Reserve to continue on its aggressive rate-hiking path.

WASHINGTON, Sept. 23 (Xinhua) -- The Dow Jones Industrial Average hit bear market territory on Friday, falling 800 points at one point before ending the trading day down nearly 500 points.

The Dow ended below the 30,000 mark and at one point fell to a new low for this year.

That's after the index suffered a 10 percent loss over the past month, and a year-to-date nosedive of around 19 percent.

The losses reflect investors' fears that inflation is not fading as fast as they thought, which has prompted the U.S. Federal Reserve to continue on its aggressive rate-hiking path.

Moreover, investors are growing more concerned that the Fed will act too harshly and cause jobless rates to rise to crisis levels.

"The market has been transitioning clearly and quickly from worries over inflation to concerns over the aggressive Federal Reserve campaign," said Quincy Krosby of LPL Financial, as quoted by CNBC.

"You see bond yields rising to levels we haven't seen in years - it's changing the mindset to how does the Fed get to price stability without something breaking," Krosby said.

Some economists blasted the Fed's third consecutive rate hike of 75 basis points, which occurred on Wednesday, and said a 50-basis point hike would be more appropriate, considering the lagged impact of monetary policy.

The Fed must strike a delicate balance between tamping down inflation and avoiding boosting unemployment. But some economists believe the United States will see a rise in unemployment - albeit a mild one - by year's end.

Inflation has been a major problem for much of this year, caused by the current administration's profligate spending, as well as the Fed's reluctance, early on, to admit to the problem and take action.

August's inflation rate came in at a 8.3 percent rise from the same time last year - the highest in 40 years. The Consumer Price Index (CPI) has remained over 8 percent since March.

The Fed announced Wednesday that it would raise rates a third consecutive 75 basis points, with Fed chair Jerome Powell expressing concern that inflation remains stubbornly high despite ongoing rate hikes.

Polls show that inflation and the economy top voters' concerns, and that could be a problem for U.S. President Joe Biden's Democratic Party, as midterm elections are just around the corner in November. ■