June 9 (UPI) — U.S. markets declined for the second consecutive session Thursday as fear about the strength of the economy among investors persisted ahead of a key inflation report.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 638.11 points, or 1.94%, while the S&P 500 dropped 2.38% and the Nasdaq Composite ended the day with a 2.75% decline.
Investors are looking ahead to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ May Consumer Price Index to be released Friday, which is expected to show that headline inflation rose by 8.3% in the past month.
Investors also have been attempting to assess the state of the economy, as the Federal Reserve is set to hold its next policy meeting next week and expected to hike interest rates again to combat inflation.
“The fact that people have literally been talking about this report for the last several days illustrates how much of an issue inflation has become for the market over the last six months since Fed Chair [Jerome] Powell first started to take a more hawkish approach to inflation,” Bespoke Investment Group said in a note to clients.
Investors also reacted to the Labor Department’s weekly jobs report showing that 229,000 people filed for unemployment insurance for the first time last week, the most to do so since January and the third-highest total this year.
Oil prices fell slightly Thursday, with the U.S. benchmark, West Texas Intermediate crude, still holding above $120 per barrel, while GasBuddy reported that the national average for gas prices has risen to $5 per gallon after an increase of several cents over the last few days.
Casino stocks weighed down the S&P 500 on Thursday, with Las Vegas Sands falling 5.62% and Caesars Entertainment declining 3.82%.
Shares of Chinese tech company Pinduoduo fell 9.62%, while some major U.S. tech stocks also struggled. Facebook parent Meta declined.43%, while Amazon dropped 4.15%.
The S&P 500 has fallen about 1% this week and now is down about 15% from its record high, nearing bear market territory.