US stocks opened lower on Thursday, despite positive macroeconomic data, as high volatility led to concerns for investors.
The Dow was down 160 points to 32,259 at 9.33 a.m. EDT (1333GMT) with Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley shedding around 0.5% each.
The S&P 500 fell 0.4% to 3,874 with Tesla losing 2.2%, while the Nasdaq was off 0.6% to 12,881 with Twitter, Airbnb and Blackberry all losing more than 2.5%.
The VIX volatility index was back in action, adding 2.7% to 21.77. The fear index pushed investors to a sell-off as they turned toward liquidity, which raised the US dollar index 0.1% to $92.64.
After flirting with the $60,000 critical level in recent days, Bitcoin plummeted 10% to just above $51,000, while other cryptocurrencies were down by as much as 20%.
Positive data created some optimism for markets as the number of Americans filing first-time unemployment claims fell 97,000 to 684,000 last week, according to Labor Department.
While this was the first time weekly jobless claims showed an increase below 700,000 since the start of the pandemic, it was also the lowest level since March 14, 2020 — the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in the US.
Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell said any change in the central bank’s monetary policies, such as interest rates and asset purchasing program would come “gradually and with great transparency” after the world’s largest economy fully recovers from the coronavirus pandemic.
The Fed is not expected to have a rate hike until 2023 but Powell confirmed that by noting interest rates would only be considered “when the economy is all but fully recovered.”
He told National Public Radio’s Morning Edition that “as we make substantial further progress towards our goals we will gradually rollback,” referring to $120 billion bond purchases the central bank makes every month to provide liquidity for the markets.