The S&P 500 index fell 2.9% last week, moving the market benchmark deeper into the red for the month as Russia escalated attacks on Ukraine and data showed US inflation reached a 40-year high in February.
The index is now down 3.9% for the month of March and down 12% for the year to date.
The weekly drop came as Russia ramped up its attacks on Ukraine and attempts at talks between the two countries failed to result in a cease-fire. US President Joe Biden announced a ban on Russian oil, gas and coal imports, noting the move would likely send US gas prices higher but would also “inflict further pain” on Russian President Vladimir Putin.
In the US, data showed the seasonally adjusted consumer price index, a measure of inflation, rose by 0.8% in February following a gain of 0.6% in January. Core CPI, which excludes food and energy prices, rose by 0.5%, following a 0.6% gain in January. The year-over-year rates for overall and core CPI accelerated to 7.9% and 6.4%, respectively, from 7.5% and 6% in the previous month, lifting them to the highest levels since 1982.
Every sector other than energy fell last week. Consumer staples had the largest percentage drop, down 5.8%, followed by a decline of 3.8% in technology, a loss of 3.1% in communication services and a 2.8% slip in health care. Energy, meanwhile, climbed 1.9%.
This week, all eyes will be on a two-day Federal Open Market Committee meeting scheduled to conclude on Wednesday. Last week, Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said he would propose a quarter-percentage point increase at the meeting.
Other economic releases expected next week include the February producer price index on Tuesday and February retail sales and import prices on Wednesday. The end of the week will be heavy on housing data, with February building permits and housing starts due Thursday and February existing home sales expected Friday.
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