Dow drops 308 points as markets fall for third straight session

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Aug. 30 (UPI) — U.S. markets fell for the third consecutive day on Thursday as investors weighed economic data and anticipated interest rate hikes from the Federal Reserve.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 308.12 points, or 0.96%, while the S&P 500 dropped 1.1% and the Nasdaq Composite closed the day down 1.12%.

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Data released Tuesday highlighted the resilience of the economy following fears of a recession as the Labor Department’s Job Openings and Labor Turnover survey showed job openings in the United States rose to 11.2 million in July.

A reading from the Conference Board also showed U.S. consumer confidence rose in August following three consecutive months of decline, with the index rising to 103.2 in August from 95.3 in July.

Indicators of a strong economy could make the Fed more likely to continue to increase interest rates to combat inflation.

Markets began to tumble on Friday as Fed Chair Jerome Powell said the central bank will keep hiking interest rates until inflation returns to a healthy level.

New York Fed President John Williams offered similar comments on Tuesday.

“I do think with demand far exceeding supply, we do need to get real interest rates … above zero. We need to have somewhat restrictive policy to slow demand and we’re not there yet,” he said.

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Short-term rates continued to climb as investors anticipated further rate hikes with the 2-year yield rising to its highest level in nearly 15 years.

Tuesday also saw West Texas Intermediate crude oil — the U.S. benchmark — post its largest decline in two weeks, falling 5.5% to below $92 per barrel, while the international benchmark, Brent crude, dropped 5.6% to $99.25.

Shares of electric car maker Nikola fell 9.38% after the company said it may sell stock to raise as much as $400 million for production costs to combat rising prices on labor and raw materials.

Bed, Bath and Beyond stock — which has traded as a so-called “meme stock” — fell 9.29% as the retailer is set to deliver a strategic update later this week.

Investors are also looking ahead to major corporate earnings this week and a monthly jobs report Friday.