U.S. stocks halted a four-day advance on Thursday, with the rate-sensitive Nasdaq Composite Index leading the way lower as equity benchmarks tumbled in the final hour of trade. The Nasdaq Composite COMP, -3.74% skid 3.7%, shedding about 540 points, to finish near 13,878. The S&P 500 index SPX, -2.44% fell 2.4%, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA, -1.45% closed down 1.5%. Stocks got off to a shakier start after Meta Platforms FB, -26.39% missed sales and growth estimates for the fourth quarter. In Europe, the ECB President Christine Lagarde also declined to rule out a rate increase in 2022 and acknowledged that inflation risks for the eurozone are “tilted to the upside,” signaling that policy makers were likely to offer more detailed guidance when they meet in March. That’s also when many on Wall Street now expect the first U.S. rate hike by the Federal Reserve since 2018.
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