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U.S. stocks fall as interest rate concerns persist

NEW YORK, Feb. 28 (Xinhua) — The major Wall Street averages ended lower on Tuesday as investors continued to worry about rising interest rates.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 232.39 points (0.71%) to 32,656.7. The S&P 500 fell 12.09 points (0.30%) to 3,970.15. The Nasdaq Composite Index fell 11.44 points (0.10%) to 11,455.54.

Eight of the S&P 500’s 11 major sectors closed in the red, with utilities and energy leading the laggards, down 1.72% and 1.44%, respectively. Materials were the best performing group, up 0.45%.

“Equity markets are being held back by the prospect of further rate hikes from the Federal Reserve,” said Brian Rose, senior economist at UBS’s chief investment office.

“My speculation is that the economy is in the second half of the cycle, growth is likely to slow, and the Fed is raising interest rates to keep inflation in check,” Rose said.

The Federal Reserve raised interest rates by 25 basis points on February 1, setting the target range for the Federal Fund to 4.5% to 4.75%.

Federal Reserve comments suggest the central bank is likely to continue raising rates in the coming months.

The market is pricing in a price increase of 25 basis points at the next three Federal Open Market Committee meetings.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 4.2% in February, the S&P 500 dropped 2.6% and the tech-heavy Nasdaq dropped 1.1%. U.S. stocks fall as interest rate concerns persist

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