US: Stocks decline as markets await jobs data

WALL Street stocks retreated on Thursday as markets awaited key US jobs data, while taking in hawkish moves by major central banks.

The latest decline came a day after the US Federal Reserve announced another sharp interest rate increase and said it was premature to think about pausing, which was followed shortly by a similar big move by Bank of England as part of the fight against inflation.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 0.5 per cent to close at 32,001.25.

The broad-based S&P 500 dropped 1.1 per cent to 3,719.89, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index fell 1.7 per cent to 10,342.94.

After Wednesday's announcement, Fed Chair Jerome Powell pledged continue to combat inflation with further rate hikes during a press briefing seen as hawkish by market watchers.

"He was just trying essentially to beat the market down with a stick," Jack Ablin of Cresset Capital said of Powell's remarks.

Investors will be watching the US employment report due out Friday for any signs of cooling in the economy, while inflation figures due next week will be "a wild card," Ablin added.

Among individual companies, chipmaker Qualcomm plunged 7.7 per cent as it lowered its forecast for smartphone sales. The outlook weighed on smartphone giant Apple, which fell 4.2 per cent.

Among other companies reporting results, eBay rose 2.0 per cent while Marriott International dropped 4.3 per cent. AFP

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