US Stocks Fall After Inflation Report

NEW YORK (AP) -- Stocks fell broadly in morning trading on Wall Street Thursday after another hot reading on inflation had investors bracing for another big interest rate hike from the Federal Reserve later this month.

The S&P 500 fell 2% as of 10:19 a.m. Eastern. More than 95% of companies in the benchmark index were in the red. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 604 points, or 2%, to 30.163 and the Nasdaq fell 2.1%.

Banks were among the big losers. JPMorgan Chase fell 4.6% after reporting a sharp drop in earnings for its latest quarter, falling short of forecasts.

Another drop in crude oil prices, a signal that investors expect slower economic growth, was weighing on energy companies. U.S. crude oil prices fell 4.8% and Exxon Mobil fell 4.1%.

Inflation and the Federal Reserve's fight against it remain key concerns for Wall Street. Inflation at the wholesale level climbed 11.3% in June compared with a year earlier. It is the latest painful reminder that inflation is running hot, following a report on Wednesday that showed prices at the consumer level were 9.1% higher last month than a year earlier.

Pervasive inflation has been squeezing businesses and consumers for months. More importantly for Wall Street, it prompted an aggressive reversal for the Fed on its interest rate policy. The central bank is now raising rates in an effort to slow economic growth and cool inflation, but that has raised concerns that it could go too far and actually cause a recession.

The yield on the 10-year Treasury, which affects mortgage rates, rose to 3.00% from 2.90% late Thursday. It remains lower than the two-year Treasury, which is at 3.24%. That's a relatively rare occurrence, and some investors see it as an ominous signal of a potential recession.

The Fed has already raised rates three times this year and traders are increasingly expecting a monster rate hike of a full percentage point at the central bank's next meeting in two weeks. Traders are betting on a 83% chance of a full-point hike, up from zero a month ago, according to CME Group.

Concerns about the Fed's rate hikes have prompted Bank of America to forecast a mild recession hitting the economy in the second half of the year and more pain for traders. The benchmark S&P 500 index has already slumped into a bear market, down 20% from its most recent high in January, and likely hasn't hit bottom yet, according to the bank.

Investors are will get a clearer picture in the coming weeks about how badly inflation is hurting companies. Several more banks are on deck to report earnings Friday, including Citigroup and Wells Fargo, along with insurer UnitedHealth Group.