April 19, 2024

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Stocks falter as interest rate tensions remain

Stocks falter as interest rate tensions remain

The prospect of a rapid rate hike has hurt technology stocks in particular. Facebook, Microsoft, Amazon and Alphabet, the parent company of Google, fell more than 10 percent during the month, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite Index, which fell 2.5 percent on Friday, was down more than 9 percent. The index is down 18 percent for the year.

Investors also had to contend with supply chain constraints, which hamper sales and drive up prices. In February, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine left an already fragile global supply chain facing a new challenge as Western countries imposed sanctions on Russia, including banning oil imports from the country, a move that sent energy prices soaring.

Oil prices fell on Friday, with futures contracts for June delivery of international benchmark Brent crude down 1.7 percent to $106.65 a barrel. However, the price represents a sharp rise since the beginning of the year, when prices stabilized at $78.98 a barrel. Oil and commodity prices are expected to remain volatile as the Russian war in Ukraine continues.

And in China, the world’s second-largest economy, Shanghai and more than a dozen other cities were locked down in late March to fight the surge in the case of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus. Factories and other workplaces were also closed.

On Friday, a series of disappointing earnings forecasts added to the overdraft.

HCA Healthcare It fell 21.8 percent, making its stock the worst performing stock in the S&P 500, after the company cut its earnings forecast, citing High labor costs.

“Tough labor market pressures are on margins as the cost of labor has increased more than we expected compared to the first quarter of the previous year,” Samuel Hazen, CEO of HCA Healthcare, said during a call with investors. “In some cases, challenges in the labor market have also restricted our ability, preventing us from providing hospital services to some patients.”

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Verizon shares fell 5.8% after the company said that lost 36000 wireless subscribers In the first three months of the year. The gap also decreased by 18 percent after the company lowered its sales forecast for 2022.