Ugliest month for stocks since COVID first hit
The stock market fell off the ugly tree in April, hitting every branch on the way down.
Driving the news: The closing bell on Friday marked the end of a nasty day, a dismal week and a miserable month in what's turning into a horrible year for the S&P 500.
- The benchmark U.S. index lost 3.6% on the day, pushing it down 8.8% for the month. That's the worst monthly decline since the COVID crisis hit in early 2020.
- The index is down 13.3% this year. A full-year performance like that would be the market's worst showing since 2008.
- The selloff in the tech-heavy Nasdaq composite index was even worse in April, as it collapsed by 13.3%. Large-cap technology stocks, which hold large sway in the market-cap-weighted S&P 500, were also key drivers of the S&P's plunge.
What's going on: It's the Fed. Expectations of an aggressive campaign of rate hikes — the central bank is expected to raise interest rates by half a percentage point on Wednesday — collided with growing worries about the health of the economy and corporate profits.
- China's anti-COVID lockdowns — and their impact on the world's second-largest economy and global supply chains — are also turning into a big concern.
What we're watching: Fed chair Jerome Powell's press conference on Wednesday. If he talks tougher still on inflation and hints at a faster pace of rate hikes, an awful April could be followed by a miserable May.