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NEW YORK: World stocks on Friday closed out their steepest weekly slide since the pandemic meltdown of March 2020, as investors worried that tighter monetary policy by inflation-fighting central banks could damage economic growth.
The U.S. Federal Reserve's biggest rate hike since 1994, the first such Swiss move in 15 years, a fifth rise in British rates since December and a move by the European Central Bank to bolster the indebted south all took turns roiling markets.
The Bank of Japan was the only outlier in a week where money prices rose around the world, sticking on Friday with its strategy of pinning 10-year yields near zero. Read full story
After sharp early losses, world stocks .MIWD00000PUS steadied somewhat to ending Friday's session down by just 0.12%. The weekly slide of 5.8% was the steepest since the week of March 20, 2020.
Wall Street's Dow Jones Industrial Average .DJI slipped 0.13%, the S&P 500 .SPX added 0.22%, and the Nasdaq Composite .IXIC jumped 1.43%.
For the week, the S&P 500 dropped 5.8%, also its biggest fall since the third week of 2020.
"Inflation, the war and lockdowns in China have derailed the global recovery," economists at Bank of America said in a note to clients, adding they see a 40 percent chance of a recession in the United States next year as the Fed keeps raising rates.
"We look for GDP growth to slow to almost zero, inflation to settle at around 3% and the Fed to hike rates above 4%."
The Fed on Friday said its commitment to fight inflation is "unconditional". Read full story Fears that its rate hikes could trigger a recession supported Treasury prices and slowed the rise in yields, which fall when prices rise. Ten-year Treasury yields US10YT=RR retreated to 3.22944% after hitting an 11-year high of 3.498% on Tuesday. US/
Southern European bond yields dropped sharply after reports of more detail from ECB President Christine Lagarde on the central bank's plans. Read full story
"The more aggressive line by central banks adds to headwinds for both economic growth and equities," said Mark Haefele, chief investment officer at UBS Global Wealth Management. "The risks of a recession are rising, while achieving a soft landing for the U.S. economy appears increasingly challenging."
In Asia, MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan .MIAPJ0000PUS fell to a five-week low, dragged by selling in Australia. Japan's Nikkei .N225 fell 1.8% and headed for a weekly drop of almost 7%.
JAPANESE YEN DIVES
Bonds and currencies were jittery after a rollercoaster week.