NEW YORK, New York - Soaring prices have taken their toll on U.S. retailer Target which reported first-quarter profit had more than halved, sending its stock into a nosedive.
"What people are worried about after seeing Target is, will more earnings estimates have to be taken down?" asked Thomas Hayes, chairman of Great Hill Capital in New York in chatting to Reuters news agency Wednesday. "Consumer sentiment is at multi-year lows and tied at the hip with inflation. So people are looking for signs of inflation moderating, and Target did not give them any today."
U.S. stock markets were also being overwhelmed by sellers generally as inflation fears again reignited, not only sending stocks spiraling, but the dollar soaring.
"The cons outweigh the pros for growth stocks at this particular moment, and the market is trying to decide how bad it's going to get," Liz Young, head of investment strategy at SoFi told Reuters Wednesday. "The market is fearful of the next six months. We may find out that it doesn't need to be as fearful as this, and markets do tend to overreact on the downside."
The Dow Jones industrials plummeted 1,164.52 points or 3.57 percent to 31,490.07.
The Nasdaq Composite shed 566.37 points or 4.73 percent to 11,418.13.
The Standard and Poor's 500 dropped 165.17 points or 4.04 percent to 3,922.68.
As the rout in stocks intensified, the U.S. dollar gained ground along with other safe-haven currencies, the Japanese yen, and the Swiss franc.
The euro tumbled to 1.0468. The British pound fell to 1.2338. The Canadian dollar weakened to 1.2888. The Australian and New Zealand dollars dived to 0.6955 and 0.6295 respectively.
The yen rose to 128.23, while the Swiss franc firmed to 0.9886.
On overseas equity markets, the Dax in Germany dropped 1.26 percent. The Paris-based CAC 40 was down 1.20 percent. London's FTSE 100 let go 1.07 percent.
In Tokyo, the Nikkei 225 gained 0.94 percent. China's Shanghai Composite was off 0.25 percent. In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng added 0.20 percent.
South Korea's Kospi Composite advanced 0.21 percent. The Australian All Ordinaries climbed 1.03 percent. In New Zealand, the S&P/NZX 50 added 1.08 percent.