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Wall St slumps as inflation data released

US stocks have ended down sharply and posted their biggest weekly percentage declines since January as a steeper than expected rise in US consumer prices in May fuelled investor worries about more aggressive interest rate hikes by the Federal Reserve.

Tech and growth stocks, whose valuations rely more heavily on future cash flows, led the decline.

Microsoft Corp and Apple Inc were among the biggest weights on the S&P 500 and Nasdaq.

Following the inflation report, benchmark 10-year US Treasury yields reached 3.152 per cent, the highest since May 9.

The US Labor Department’s report showed the consumer price index (CPI) increased 1.0 per cent last month after gaining 0.3 per cent in April.

Economists polled by Reuters had forecast the monthly CPI picking up 0.7 per cent.

Year-on-year, CPI surged 8.6 per cent – its biggest gain since 1981 and following an 8.3 per cent jump in May.

Stocks have been volatile this year and recent selling has largely been tied to uncertainty over the outlook for inflation and interest rates.

“Inflation this past month was certainly hotter than expected and a reminder that inflation will be with us for longer than we previously expected,” said Michael Sheldon, chief investment officer at RDM Financial Group at Hightower in Westport, Connecticut.

“But there are some signs within the economy that ultimately inflation should start to slow and the Fed will likely do whatever it takes to keep raising rates and reduce inflation over the coming 12 to 18 months.”

The S&P 500 lost 117.05 points, or 2.91 per cent, to end at 3,900.77 points while the Nasdaq Composite lost 415.07 points, or 3.53 per cent, to 11,339.16 and the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 882.47 points, or 2.73 per cent, to 31,395.72.

The inflation report was published ahead of an anticipated second 50 basis points rate hike from the Fed next Wednesday.

A further half-percentage-point is priced in for July, with a strong chance of a similar move in September.

A Reuters poll also indicated economists see no pause in rate rises until next year.

Netflix Inc slid after Goldman downgraded the streaming giant’s stock to “sell” from “neutral” due to a possibly weaker macro environment.

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