Stocks fell for the second straight session on Thursday as traders wrapped up a rocky first quarter for Wall Street.
The Dow Jones Industrials fell without a parachute at Thursday’s close, losing 550.46 points, or 1.6%, to 34,678.35
The S&P 500 faded 72.04 points, or 1.6%, to 4,530.41.
The NASDAQ Composite stumbled 221.76 points, or 1.5%, to 14,220.52.
For the first quarter, the Dow closed down 4.8% and S&P 500 fell 5.2%, while the NASDAQ lost 10%.
The start of a rate hiking cycle from the Federal Reserve, high inflation and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine all contributed to the struggles for equities.
March was a bit of a bright spot, however, as the major averages enjoyed a solid two-week rally in the back half of the month. The S&P 500 and NASDAQ rose more than 3% in March, while the Dow added 2.2%.
Semiconductor and tech hardware stocks came under pressure Thursday amid analyst concerns over the PC market going forward. AMD shares slid more than 8% after analysts at Barclays downgraded the stock to equal weight from overweight.
Meanwhile, HP Inc declined 6.5% and Dell dropped 7.6%, after being downgraded to equal weight from overweight at Morgan Stanley.
Shares of Walgreens Boots Alliance dropped 5%, weighing on the Dow. The pharmacy chain beat estimates for its fiscal second quarter, though that was due in part to demand for pandemic-related products.
Bank stocks were another area of weakness, with JPMorgan Chase dropping 2.3% and Goldman Sachs shedding more than 1%
In Ukraine, Russian forces continued to hold their positions around Kyiv and shell the capital city, according to U.K. intelligence officials.
Russian President Vladimir Putin said payments for Russian natural gas will need to be made in rubles, Reuters reported, further complicating energy supply issues for Europe.
On the economic data front, weekly jobless claims came in at 202,000. Economists surveyed by Dow Jones were expecting 196,000.
Personal income rose 0.5%, meeting expectations, while consumer spending rose less than expected.
Core PCE prices, a key inflation measure watched by the Fed, came in at 5.4% growth year over year for February. That was just below the expectations of 5.5%.
Treasury prices gained Thursday, with yields falling to 2.33%, from Wednesday’s 2.34%. Treasury prices and yields move in opposite directions.
Oil prices staggered $6.86 to $100.96 U.S. a barrel.
Gold prices acquired $2.30 to $1,941.40 U.S. an ounce.