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Nasdaq slumps more than 2% on fears of aggressive Fed

By Bansari Mayur Kamdar and Devik Jain

(Reuters) -Wall Street's main indexes tumbled on Monday in a dour start to the week as investors worried about hawkish signals from U.S. Federal Reserve policymakers against the backdrop of slowing economic growth.

Ten of the 11 major S&P 500 sectors declined in mid-day trading, with information technology, consumer discretionary and communication services stocks down 2% each.

High-growth and technology companies such as Apple Inc (NASDAQ:AAPL) and Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) Inc fell 1.7% and 2.8%, respectively, as the benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury yield rose past 3% for the first time since July 21. [US/]

A four-week summer rally for the Nasdaq and the S&P 500 snapped last week after growth stocks tumbled on Friday.

Banks fell 1.9% on Monday, with lenders JPMorgan Chase & Co (NYSE:JPM) and Bank of America (NYSE:BAC) down more than 1% each.

Banking giants collectively face more than $1 billion in regulatory fines for employees' use of unapproved messaging tools, including email and apps such as WhatsApp.

The CBOE Volatility index, Wall Street's fear gauge, rose to 23.26, its highest level in over two weeks.

Expectations of a less aggressive stance by the Fed and strong quarterly earnings had helped the benchmark S&P 500 rebound nearly 14% from its mid-June lows after a rough start to the year.

Focus this week is on Fed Chair Jerome Powell's speech at a central banking conference in Jackson Hole for further cues on the monetary policy tightening path.

"Powell speaks on Friday and there's a risk that he becomes a little bit more hawkish when talking about the interest rates," said Paul Nolte, portfolio manager at Kingsview Investment Management.

"At this point, a little bit of a correction in the market is not anything to get worried about just yet."

The Fed will raise rates by 50 basis points in September, according to economists polled by Reuters.

Meanwhile, traders are split between a 50 bps hike and a 75 bps hike by the central bank, even as several policymakers have pushed back against expectations of a dovish pivot and emphasized the fight against inflation. [FEDWATCH]

Investors will also be looking for details on the Fed's plans to reduce its nearly $9 trillion balance sheet, a process that started in June.

The central bank's favored inflation gauge, the PCE price index, will be released this week.

Market participants eager for clues about the economy's strength amid rising fears of a recession will also closely track the flash readings on business activity, the second estimate of second-quarter GDP and University of Michigan consumer sentiment.

At 11:38 a.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 448.82 points, or 1.33%, at 33,257.92, the S&P 500 was down 69.34 points, or 1.64%, at 4,159.14, and the Nasdaq Composite was down 266.40 points, or 2.10%, at 12,438.82.

Slowdown fears hit markets globally. China's central bank trimmed some key lending rates on Monday in a bid to support a slowing economy and a stressed housing sector.

Signify Health Inc jumped 33.7% following a report on Sunday that UnitedHealth Group Inc (NYSE:UNH), Inc (NASDAQ:AMZN), CVS Health Corp (NYSE:CVS) and Option Care Health (NASDAQ:OPCH) Inc were bidding to acquire the company.

AMC Entertainment (NYSE:AMC) Holdings Inc tumbled 39.4% after the cinema chain's preferred stock listing started trading and its UK-based rival Cineworld Group warned of a possible bankruptcy filing.

Declining issues outnumbered advancers for a 5.01-to-1 ratio on the NYSE and a 3.49-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.

The S&P index recorded one new 52-week high and 31 new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 22 new highs and 127 new lows.


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