Wall Street Has Worst Quarter in Two Years 

All three major averages saw their worst quarter since the beginning of 2020.

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Traders wrapped up Wall Street’s first quarter as stocks fell two days in a row. Thursday’s session ended the quarter at 34,678.35 for the Dow, marking the worst quarter on Wall Street during the past two years.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell by 1.56 percent, sliding 550.46 points on Thursday, the last trading day of the first quarter and March. The Nasdaq was also down by 1.54 percent to 14,220.52, while the S&P 500 slid by 1.57 percent down to 4,530.41.

The losses were worse in the final hour of the trading session, closing at session lows.

The tallies for the first quarter showed that the Dow was 4.6 percent lower, and the S&P was 4.9 percent lower. Meanwhile, the Nasdaq closed down by 9 percent. The quarter was the worst for all three major averages since the first quarter of 2020, which also was the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in the U.S. 

This quarter’s losses were likely due to news of the Federal Reserve rate hikes, high inflation, and the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

But, March did deliver a two-week rally to all three indexes. The Nasdaq and S&P both saw a 3 percent increase during March, and the Dow saw a 2.2 percent rise.

During Thursday’s session, tech hardware and semiconductor stocks were under pressure as analysts were concerned about the future of the PC market. AMD shares fell by over 8 percent after Barclays analysts downgraded the stock from overweight to equal weight.

Likewise, Dell and HP shares fell by 7.6 percent and 6.5 percent, respectively, after Morgan Stanley downgraded the stock from overweight to equal weight.

Bank stocks were also lower. JP Morgan Chase shares fell by 3 percent while Goldman Sachs shed 1.6 percent.

Meanwhile, pharmacy chain Walgreens saw its shares fall by 5 percent. However, the company beat analysts’ estimates for the fiscal second quarter, likely owing to increased demand for pandemic-related products.

February’s core PCE prices, an inflation measure, saw a 5.4 percent increase year-over-year. Analysts had predicted a 5.5 percent increase.

Before the market closed, there was an announcement on energy relief as the U.S. government announced a plan to release one million barrels of oil each day for six months. Even still, oil prices were lower by 6 percent, with West Texas futures settling close to $100 a barrel.

In other news, weekly unemployment claims came in at about 202,000, slightly higher than the Dow Jones economists’ forecast of 196,000.

Personal income met analysts’ expectations and was slightly higher by 0.5 percent. 



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