Jan. 5 (UPI) — U.S. markets plummeted Wednesday after the Federal Reserve discussed plans to raise interest rates more aggressively.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 392 points, or 1.07%, while the S&P 500 dropped 1.84% and the Nasdaq Composite closed the day down 3.34% as tech stocks were among the hardest hit.
Minutes released from the Federal Open Market Committee’s meeting on Wednesday showed officials were considering raising interest rates more aggressively upon completing the tapering of its bond-buying program followed shortly by shrinking the central bank’s $9 trillion balance sheet.
“Participants generally noted that, given their individual outlooks for the economy, the labor market, and inflation, it may become warranted to increase the federal funds rate sooner or at a faster pace than participants had earlier anticipated,” the minutes stated. “Some participants also noted that it could be appropriate to begin to reduce the size of the Federal Reserve’s balance sheet relatively soon after beginning to raise the federal funds rate.”
Infrastructure Capital Management CEO Jay Hatfield described the balance sheet runoff as “the key risk” for 2022.
“If the Fed starts shrinking the balance sheet that’s going to be disastrous,” Hatfield said. “I assume that they’re going to keep the balance sheet flat, but it is possible if inflation stays really hot that they start letting the balance sheet run off.”
The benchmark 10-year treasury yield jumped to a 9-month high of above 1.7% following the news, sending tech stocks plummeting.
Google’s parent company, Alphabet, fell 4.59%, while Microsoft dropped 3.84%, Facebook parent Meta declined 3.67%, Apple was down 2.66% and Amazon slid 1.89%.
Bitcoin also fell 4.86% sending publicly traded companies with exposure to the cryptocurrency on a downward spiral as Bakkt fell 17.69%, Marathon Digital dropped 13.21% and Riot Blockchain lost 12.06%.