US stocks sold off Tuesday and the Dow briefly tumbled more than 600 points, as investors grow increasingly concerned about raw material price spikes, shortages and inflation.
Prices are rising all over the place as commodities, shipping costs and more related categories become more expensive. The shortages and global supply issues have been lurking in plain sight for months, but these worries are really weighing on stocks Tuesday.
“Although we are coming off a record earnings season, continued supply chain and labor shortages are adding to potential inflationary pressures,” said Ryan Detrick, chief market strategist for LPL Financial.
The price jumps affect broader measures of inflation, which in turn could force the Federal Reserve to change its monetary policy stance sooner than expected. For now, the central bank’s interest rates are ultra-low and it buys billions of dollars worth of assets every month. But eventually that will change, and a prolonged increase in inflation could bring about that shift.
So far, Fed Chairman Jerome Powell has been steadfast in his view that it’s too early to talk about policy changes as both labor market improvements and higher inflation over the medium term would have to happen first.