40-year high CPI sends Wall Street into panic, Dow Jones dives 881 points

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NEW YORK, New York – U.S. stocks plunged on Friday after inflation across the nation rose to levels not seen since 1981. The U.S. dollar jumped sharply.

The May Consumer Price Index (CPI) registered at 8.60 percent year-on-year, much higher than analysts had predicted. This was the highest monthly figure since December 1981. Core inflation, excluding food and energy prices, advanced 6 percent, again much higher than anticipated.

“It’s confirming some of the fears I’ve been hearing from investors this week,” Lori Calvasina, head of U.S. equity strategy at RBC Capital Markets told CNBC Friday.

“Does it sort of force equities to stay at the bottom of the range it’s been in? Perhaps. I don’t think this is enough to force it down to new lows,” Calvasina cautioned.

At the close on Friday, the Dow Jones industrials had plunged 886.16 points or 2.73 percent to 31,391.63.

The Nasdaq Composite dived 414.20 points or 3.52 percent to 11,340.02.

The Standard and Poor’s 500 tumbled 117.09 points or 2.91 percent to 3,900.73.

On foreign exchange markets, the U.S. dollar was bought up across the board. The euro sank to 1.0521 by the New York close Friday. The British pound slumped to 1.2311. The Japanese yen was steady, trading at multi-decade lows around 134.38. The Swiss franc dived to 0.9881.

The Canadian dollar weakened to 1.2774. The Australian dollar dropped to 0.7053. The New Zealand dollar declined to 0.6359.

In London, the FTSE 100 was down 2.12 percent. The German Dax lost a hefty 3.08 percent, while in Paris, France, the CAC 40 was off 2.69 percent.

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 tumbled 422.24 points or 1.49 percent to 27,824.29.

The Australian All Ordinaries fell 95.20 points or 1.31 percent to 7,145.20.

In New Zealand, the S&P/NZX 50 declined 75.03 points or 0.67 percent to 11,136.28.

South Korea’s Kospi Composite eased 29.57 points or 1.13 percent to 2,595.87.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng retreated 62.87 points or 0.29 percent to 21,806.18.

Going against the trend the Shanghai Composite gained 45.88 points or 1.42 percent to close Friday at 3,284.83.