U.S. markets fall after Federal Reserve minutes, cryptocurrency struggles

A sign for Wall Street hangs outside at the New York Stock Exchange on April 20, 2020. Photo by John Angelillo/UPI

May 19 (UPI) — U.S. markets fell for the third-consecutive day Wednesday after the Federal Reserve released minutes from its April meeting and amid volatility in cryptocurrencies.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed the day down 164.62 points, or 0.48%, while the S&P 500 fell 0.29% and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 0.029%.

In minutes from its April 27-28 meeting, the Federal Reserve said “it would likely be some time” before the central bank meets its desired standard of inflation averaging 2% over time and full employment before slowing $120 billion in monthly bond purchases.

However, members indicated monetary policy could be tightened if economic recovery progresses quickly.

“A number of participants suggested that if the economy continued to make rapid progress toward the committee’s goals, it might be appropriate at some point in upcoming meetings to begin discussing a plan for adjusting the pace of asset purchases,” the Fed minutes said.

After the April meeting, Powell said the economy could not fully recover until “people are confident it’s safe to resume activities involving crowds of people.”

Markets also reacted to a decline in cryptocurrencies including bitcoin, which fell 30% at its low of the session to just above $30,000 before recovering some to a decline of about 10%.

Tech stocks of companies holding large amounts of bitcoin also suffered as Tesla stock fell 2.49% and MicroStrategy stock dropped 6.64%. Cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase also traded 5.94% lower.

“There is no question that bitcoin has been the poster child for rampant market speculation and risk appetite,” Peter Boockvar, chief investment officer at Bleakley Advisory Group said. “It should be absolutely monitored in gauging the pulse of risk taking and now risk aversion.”


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