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Stocks plunge to 13-month low in broad-based route

Pandemic-era stars bore the brunt of the selling, with Cathie Wood’s flagship exchange-traded fund sinking about 10% and an ETF tracking newly public companies down the most since the onset of the pandemic. Bitcoin slipped below $32,000, falling more than 50% from its all-time high. The rout also spread to energy producers, easily the market’s strongest sector in 2022. The group plunged over 8% as crude slid. Big tech wasn’t spared, with the likes of Tesla Inc., Amazon.com Inc. and Nvidia Corp. off by at least 5%. The Cboe Volatility Index spiked to its highest in two months.

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Traders will be closely watching a host of central bank speakers this week after Chair Jerome Powell on Wednesday played down the option of 75 basis-point rate hike. Fed Bank of Atlanta President Raphael Bostic told Bloomberg Television he favors policy makers continuing to raise rates by half-point increments rather than doing anything larger. In a later interview with Reuters broadcast on Twitter, Bostic added that while he saw low odds for a 75-basis-point hike in the next several months, he’s “not taking anything off the table.”

The April consumer-price index report on Wednesday is the highlight of an otherwise quiet week for economic releases. Inflation is projected to have moderated on both a monthly and annual basis, partly reflecting a dip in gasoline prices that have since picked back up. While inflation likely peaked in March at 8.5%, the hottest in four decades, price pressures are expected to remain Elevated, keeping Fed officials on track to steadily lift borrowing costs in the months ahead.

High inflation readings, a slowing economy and aggressive tightening by the Fed to rein in soaring prices have weighed on risk appetite and valuations. Even if an outright recession is avoided, the outlook for US stocks isn’t particularly bright, according to Goldman Sachs Group Inc. strategists.

“Swings will remain large until the path of inflation is clarified,” strategists led by David Kostin wrote in a note to clients, adding that “tightening financial conditions and poor market liquidity make it difficult to argue for a short-term rally similar in size to the one in late March.”

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