Stocks fell and bond yields rose on Wall Street Wednesday after details from last month’s Federal Reserve meeting showed the central bank intends to be aggressive in its efforts to fight inflation. Minutes from the meeting show that policymakers agreed to begin cutting the Fed’s stockpile of Treasurys and mortgage-backed securities by about $95 billion a month, starting in May. That’s more than some investors expected and nearly double the pace the last time the Fed shrank its balance sheet, the AP reports. The S&P 500 fell 43.97 points, or 1%, to 4,481.15. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 144.67 points, or 0.4%, to 34,496.51. The Nasdaq fell 315.35 points, or 2.2%, to 13,888.82.
At the meeting, the Fed raised its benchmark short-term rate by a quarter percentage point, the first increase in three years. The minutes showed many Fed officials wanted to hike rates by an even bigger margin last month, and they still saw "one or more" such supersized increases potentially coming at future meetings. Technology companies had some of the biggest losses, which weighed heavily on the broader market. Apple fell 1.8% and Microsoft shed 3.7%. Communications companies, retailers, and others that rely on direct consumer spending also fell. Amazon fell 3.2% and Facebook parent Meta fell 3.7%.
The yield on the 10-year Treasury rose to 2.61% after the release of the Fed minutes. It had been at 2.59% earlier in the day, up from 2.54% late Tuesday. The yield, which is used to set interest rates on mortgages and many other kinds of loans, is the highest it’s been in three years. US benchmark crude oil prices fell 5.6% Wednesday, but are more than 30% for the year. That has pushed gasoline prices higher, putting more stress on shipping costs, prices for goods, and consumers' wallets. JetBlue Airways fell 8.7% after offering to buy rival budget airline Spirit for $3.6 billion and break up a plan for Spirit to merge with Frontier Airlines. Spirit fell 2.4% (Read more stock market stories.)