Trading on Thursday, US stock indexes ended with a sharp drop. Investors continued to evaluate forecasts for inflation and economic growth in anticipation of Friday’s statistical data on the dynamics of consumer prices in the United States.
The value of the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell by 1.94% to 3,2272.79 points. The Standard & Poor’s 500 fell 2.38% to 4,017.82 points. The Nasdaq Composite index fell 2.75% to 11,754.23 points.

Shares of Devon Energy Corp. lost 0.1%. The American oil and gas company has agreed to acquire the lease rights and several assets of RimRock Oil and Gas on the territory of the Williston oil and gas basin for $865 million.

The price of Signet Jewelers securities increased by 9.1%. The company, which owns one of the largest jewelry store chains in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom, made a quarterly loss, but increased revenue and increased the volume of the share repurchase program, which provoked an active growth in its quotations.

Target Corp (NYSE:TGT) shares. decreased by 1.4%. The company, which owns the second largest discount store chain in the United States, increased its quarterly dividend by 20% to $1.08 per share from $0.9 per share in the previous quarter.

Five Below Inc. securities fell by 1.4%. The American chain of discount stores in the 1st quarter of fiscal year 2022 reduced net profit by more than a third, while revenue was worse than forecasts.

Intel Corp (NASDAQ:INTC) shares. they fell by 3%. The company will suspend the hiring of new employees in the division that produces chips for PCs and will change its investment plan for the short term amid increased economic uncertainty.

High inflation may strengthen expectations that the US Federal Reserve System (FRS) will continue the cycle of aggressive rate hikes in the second half of this year, despite signs of slowing economic growth, Trading Economics writes.

The European Central Bank (ECB) yesterday, as expected, kept the base interest rate on loans at zero, the deposit rate at minus 0.5%. The rate on margin loans is left at 0.25%.

Traders also estimated yesterday a new batch of statistical data on the US labor market.

The number of Americans who applied for unemployment benefits for the first time jumped by 27 thousand last week to 229 thousand people, according to a report by the US Department of Labor. According to the updated data, a week earlier the number of appeals amounted to 202 thousand, not 200 thousand, as previously reported.

Analysts on average expected an increase to 206 thousand compared to the previously announced level of the previous week, according to the results of a Bloomberg survey.

For most of Thursday, the main US indices fluctuated sluggishly near the lower limit of the well-traded range in which they had been for two weeks. Traders have been waiting for Friday morning for the last few days, when the report on May inflation in the United States will be released.
“The fact that people have literally been talking about this report for the last few days illustrates how serious an issue inflation has become for the market in the six months since Fed Chairman Powell first began to take a more hawkish approach,” CNBC quoted a note to clients of Bespoke Investment Group.

Indeed, if the growth rate of consumer prices in May turned out to be lower than April’s 8.3% (especially noticeably lower), then the bulls would have a strong argument. The Fed is doing well, they would have said then, inflation has peaked. A “soft landing” (curbing inflation without falling into recession) is feasible and the regulator will not tighten monetary policy too much.