Dow plunges more than 700 points, Nasdaq falls 4%, and S&P 500 erases 2021 gains as recession fears mount

  • US stocks plunged on Thursday as investor fears of an economic recession continue to mount.
  • The Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta’s second-quarter GDP growth forecast fell to 0% on Thursday. 
  • The concerns are growing as the Federal Reserve and other global central banks hike interest rates.

US stocks plunged on Thursday, with the S&P 500 erasing all of the gains generated in 2021, as investors continue to digest recent interest rate hikes by global central banks and worry about the imminent threat of an economic recession .

The Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta’s second-quarter GDPNow growth forecast fell to 0% on Thursday, which would put the US economy on the brink of a recession after a first-quarter GDP contraction.

The Fed hiked interest rates by 75 basis points on Wednesday, the biggest interest increase since 1994, as Fed Chair Jerome Powell reiterated his main objective is to tame rising inflation while avoiding a recession. So far this week, central banks in the UK, Switzerland, Taiwan and Brazil all raised interest rates as well. 

Here’s where US indexes stood at the 4:00 p.m. ET close on Thursday:

As interest rates rise fast, some believe a risk is growing that the Fed will make a policy mistake, including LPL’s chief equity strategist Quincy Krosby.

“With quantitative tightening beginning, and the fed funds futures market pricing in another 75-basis-point hike at the next meeting, concerns are mounting about whether the Fed is headed towards a policy mistake, otherwise known as ‘breaking something,'” Krosby told Insider.

Meanwhile, analysts at Wells Fargo think it’s increasingly difficult for the Fed to nail a soft landing, and that instead an economic recession will materialize in 2023.

“In our view, the recession will be more or less equivalent in magnitude and duration to the downturn of 1990-1991. That recession lasted for two quarters with a peak-to-trough decline in real GDP of 1.4,” Wells Fargo said in a note to clients.

The Fed’s interest rate hike didn’t help cryptocurrency prices like bitcoin and ether, which continue to trade at levels not seen since late 2020. Billionaire investor Jeff Gundlach thinks there’s more pain ahead for bitcoin, arguing that the cryptocurrency could plunge another 50% to $10,000.

Russia could be on the verge of defaulting on its debt for the first time in a hundred years. Russia faces roughly $100 million in debt payments with a grace period ending June 26. The US allowed a sanctions exemption to expire in May, which has made it difficult for Moscow to pay American holders of Russian debt.

West Texas Intermediate crude oil jumped as much as much as 1.56% to $117.11 per barrel. Brent crude, oil’s international benchmark, rose as much as 0.64% to $119.27.

Bitcoin fell 6.07% to $20,841. Ether prices dropped 9.74% to $1,092.

Gold jumped as much as 1.93% to $1,854.70 per ounce. The yield on the 10-year Treasury fell 4 basis points to 3.25%.