April was a painful month for investors in the U.S. stock market, climaxing with a brutal sell-off in the final hour of trading Friday.
The Nasdaq composite fell by nearly 4.2 percent on Friday, falling by 536 points. More than 100 points of that decline came in the final half hour of trading. For the month, the tech-heavy index is down by more than 13 percent, the worst monthly performance since October 2008.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 939 points, a 2.8 percent decline, on Friday, bringing its full month decline to 4.9 percent. Two hundred and 12 points of that decline came in the final half-hour.
The S&P 500 dropped by 3.6 percent and has now been down for four straight weeks. Its total decline for the month amounts to 8.8 percent.
Tech stocks, which were some of the biggest winners in recent years, have seen the worst of the recent declines.
Collectively, the so-called FAANG stocks—Facebook, Apple, Amazon.com, Netflix, and Google—have shed more than $1 trillion in market value in April. Shares of Facebook are down 12 percent. Apple shares have fallen 11.2 percent. Netflix shares crashed a jaw-dropping 50 percent. Google shares nosedived 19.6 percent.
Investors have been rattled by the Federal Reserves’ plans to hike interest rates rapidly in the coming months and by forecasts that these hikes could push the economy into a recession next year. Inflation has proved much stronger than many expected, which means the Fed will likely have to make financial conditions very tight to bring it under control. A surge of infections in China has triggered lockdowns of entire cities, giving rise to worries of renewed supply chain disruptions, and ongoing war in Ukraine has fostered fear over shortages of food, metals, and energy commodities.