NEW YORK, New York - After speculating for weeks that the U.S. Federal Reserve will begin easing interest rate rises and that inflation has peaked, investors Thursday began to have doubts. There is increasing concern in some quarters interest rates will stay higher for longer, as the Fed has been saying.
"After the market practically grazed our near-term SPX fair value estimate intraday [4014 both Tuesday and Wednesday] stocks slid and acted like they needed a breather," Christopher Harvey, Wells Fargo Securities head of equity strategy, told CNBC Thursday. "The factors driving the sharp YTD rally (short-covering, risk-bid and lower yields) appear to be hitting their near-term bounds. This will likely cause the market to trade sideways-to-down over the short term," Harvey added.
The Nasdaq Composite declined 104.74 points or 0.96 percent to 10,852.27.
The Dow Jones industrials retreated 252.40 points or 0.76 percent to 33,044.56.
The Standard and Poor's 500 fell 30.01 points or 0.76 percent to 3,898.85.
The U.S. dollar was volatile again, with most currencies tumbling, although the majors began clawing back deficits towards the close.
The euro, which had fallen into the 10.07s, finished the day Thursday around 1.0932. The British pound edged up to 1.2394. The Japanese yen was range-bound at 128.40. The Swiss franc strengthened to 0.9151.
The Canadian dollar edged up to 1.3459. The Australian dollar weakened sharply to 0.6916. The New Zealand dollar fell to 0.6400.
On overseas equity markets, there were major falls in the UK and Europe. London's FTSE dived 1.07 percent. The German Dax retreated 1.72 percent. The Paris-based CASC 40 was off 1.86 percent.
In Japan, the Nikkei 225 dived 1.44 percent. The Hang Seng in Hong Kong lost 0.12 percent. China's Shanghai Composite gained 0.49 percent.
The Singapore Straits Times index fell 0.41 percent. Indonesia's Jakarta Composite advanced 0.80 percent.
The Australian All Ordinaries rose 0.51 percent. Across the Tasman, New Zealand's S&P/NZX 50 was off 0.29 percent. South Korea's Kospi Composite climbed 0.51 percent.