The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 253 points as markets ended the second quarter of the year with losses Thursday. File Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo
June 30 (UPI) -- U.S. markets closed the end of the second quarter with losses on Thursday amid ongoing concerns over high inflation and a possible recession.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 253.88 points, or 0.82%, while the S&P 500 declined 0.88% and the Nasdaq Composite closed the day down 1.33%.
The S&P 500, which fell 7.6% in June, declined 19.9% in the first six months of the year for its worst first half since 1970 as all 11 sectors were on track for monthly losses, with energy, materials and financials as the worst performers.
As of the end of trading Thursday, the Dow had fallen 14.6% in the first half of the year, while the Nasdaq is down 29%.
The decline in stocks came as the Commerce Department on Thursday reported that inflation was up 6.3% in May compared with a year ago.
Stephanie Lang, chief investment officer at Homrich Berg, told CNBC that the rising inflation, brought on in part by the COVID-19 pandemic, has forced the Federal Reserve "to play catch up and slow growth" through steep interest rate increases.
"We had the unprecedented pandemic that shut the world down and the unprecedented response, both fiscal and monetary," Lang said. "It created the perfect storm with regard to surging demand and supply chain disruptions and now there's inflation that we haven't seen in decades and a Fed that was caught off guard."
Tech stocks have been some of the hardest hit as treasury yields surged earlier in the year with Netflix down 71% on the year, while Facebook parent, Meta, dropped 52%, Google parent, Alphabet, lost 24.8% and Apple declined 23%.
Shares of pharmaceutical chain Walgreens Boots Alliance dragged down the Dow Thursday, falling 7.27% after the company shared a full-year forecast of adjusted earnings-per-share growth in single digits.
Cruise stocks also fell for the second consecutive day with Norwegian Cruise Line losing 3.85%, Royal Caribbean falling 3.05% and Carnival sliding 2.48%.