US President Joe Biden gave his backing to Israel in person Wednesday
US President Joe Biden gave his backing to Israel in person Wednesday AFP News

US stock markets fell Thursday after Federal Reserve chair Jerome Powell warned inflation is "still too high" despite a recent slowdown, leaving the door open for another interest rate hike if needed.

On Wall Street, the Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 0.8 percent, while the broad-based S&P 500 Index slipped 0.9 percent, and the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite Index slumped 1.0 percent.

"Inflation is still too high, and a few months of good data are only the beginning of what it will take to build confidence that inflation is moving down sustainably toward our goal," Powell told a conference in New York.

Additional evidence of "persistently above-trend growth" or fresh signs of tightness in the labor market "could warrant further tightening of monetary policy," he said.

Investors around the world were also contending with rising US Treasury yields and the concerns that the Israel-Hamas war could spiral into a wider conflict in the oil-rich Middle East.

Europe's main stock markets extended losses following heavy falls earlier in Asia, while oil prices ticked higher.

"The current risk appetite remains conservative at best, due to the prevailing economic uncertainties and heightened geopolitical risks emitting from the Middle East," said Fawad Razaqzada, analyst at City Index and

The yield on the 10-year US Treasury note, seen as a proxy for US interest rates, rose above five percent for the first time since 2007.

A reason for the climb, said Peter Cardillo of Spartan Capital, is that the market feels "Fed rates will stay high for an extended period of time."

"The surge in US 10-year Treasury yields, perhaps a delayed reaction from robust US retail sales data earlier, has taken the forefront in global financial markets," Razaqzada said.

Weekly jobless claims data meanwhile came in lower than expected Thursday, suggesting that the labor market is tighter than many predicted.

"The key takeaway from the report is the remarkably low level of initial jobless claims -- a leading indicator -- which conveys a tight labor market that is a good portent for continued strength in consumer spending," Patrick O'Hare from wrote in a note before markets opened.

Among individual companies, shares in electric vehicle maker Tesla dropped 9.3 percent one day after its results missed analyst estimates.

But streaming giant Netflix's shares surged more than 16 percent after it reported that its subscriber numbers grew nearly 11 percent to 247 million in the recently ended quarter, in part due to a crackdown on password sharing.

New York - Dow: DOWN 0.8 percent at 33,414.17 points (close)

New York - S&P 500: DOWN 0.9 percent at 4,278.00 (close)

New York - Nasdaq Composite: DOWN 1.0 percent at 13,186.18 (close)

London - FTSE 100: DOWN 1.2 percent at 7,499.53 (close)

Frankfurt - DAX: DOWN 0.3 percent at 15,045.23 (close)

Paris - CAC 40: DOWN 0.6 percent at 6,921.37 (close)

EURO STOXX 50: DOWN 0.4 percent at 4,090.33 (close)

Tokyo - Nikkei 225: DOWN 1.9 percent at 31,430.62 (close)

Hong Kong - Hang Seng Index: DOWN 2.5 percent at 17,295.89 (close)

Shanghai - Composite: DOWN 1.7 percent at 3,005.39 (close)

Euro/dollar: UP at $1.0583 from $1.0536 on Wednesday

Pound/dollar: UP at $1.2142 from $1.2140

Dollar/yen: DOWN at 149.81 yen from 149.93 yen

Brent North Sea crude: UP 1.0 percent at $92.38 per barrel

West Texas Intermediate: UP 1.2 percent at $89.37 per barrel