Wall Street extends losses as bond yields creep up again

(Reuters) – U.S. stocks markets took another beating in early Thursday trade as a rise in bond yields and higher inflation continued to unnerve investors following a historic drop on Monday.

The 10-year U.S. Treasury yield US10YT=RR crept back to a high of 2.884 percent, near Monday’s four-year peak of 2.885 percent.

The market’s main gauge of volatility, the CBOE Volatility Index .VIX, fell to 27.06 on Thursday, still more than twice the level it held over the past few months. The index hit its highest level since August 2015 on Tuesday.

“Volatility has eased but by no means is it low. It is still far above the long-term average and unease about higher interest rates remain,” said Randy Frederick, vice president of trading and derivatives for Charles Schwab.

“The outlook for the rest of the year remains positive and fundamentals remain strong. If the VIX falls below 20, then we should see some buying,” Frederick said.

Investors are weighing whether the sharp swings in stocks this week are the start of a deeper correction or just a temporary bump in the nine-year bull market, spurred by concerns over rising interest rates and bond yields.

At 10:52 a.m. ET (1552 GMT), the Dow Jones Industrial Average .DJI was down 319.24 points, or 1.28 percent, at 24,574.11, the S&P 500 .SPX was down 27.4 points, or 1.02 percent, at 2,654.26.

The Nasdaq Composite .IXIC was down 82.50 points, or 1.17 percent, at 6,969.49.

All 11 major S&P sectors were lower, with the industrials .SPLRCI and financial indexes .SPSY leading the decliners.

Home Depot’s (HD.N) 1.7 percent fall and Caterpillar’s (CAT.N) 2.3 percent decline weighed the most on the Dow, while JPMorgan (JPM.N) was among the top weights on the S&P.

Dallas Fed President Robert Kaplan said on Thursday the central bank could hike rates three times this year and the recent market volatility in itself was not enough to change his base scenario.

However, Minneapolis Fed chief Neel Kashkari said he does not think the Fed should raise interest rates unless wages and inflation start to take off, and that the U.S. economy is a “long way” from that.

Economic data showed weekly jobless claims fell to 221,000, below the 232,000 rise expected by economists, dropping to its lowest level in nearly 45 years as the labor market tightened further.

Among stocks, Twitter (TWTR.N) jumped 20 percent after it reported its first quarterly net profit and topped Wall Street targets as video ad sales rose.

Tesla (TSLA.O) was down 3.2 percent after the electric automaker said spending could rise in 2018.

Declining issues outnumbered advancers on the NYSE by 2,072 to 681. On the Nasdaq, 1,950 issues fell and 780 advanced.

The S&P 500 index showed no new 52-week highs and 6 new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 22 new highs and 38 new lows.

Reporting by Tanya Agrawal; Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty

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