Wall Street falls more than 1.5 percent as jobless claims rise

Wall Street falls more than 1.5 percent as jobless claims rise

The week to 4 March saw jobless claims rise more than expected, selling off bank stocks in particular.

There is a focus on the direction of interest rates. Adam Sarhan, CEO of 50 Park Investments, told CNBC Thursday that the Fed has changed the narrative that drove stocks higher for most of January and late December. The market rallied on the assumption that the Fed would stop raising rates, would pause in the summer, or sometime in the near future. Powell made it very clear that's not the case. The market is looking for a bullish catalyst, but it can't find one, Sarhan said.

The tech-laden Nasdaq Composite fell 2.05 percent or 237.65 points to 11,338. The Dow Jones Industrials fell 543.54 points or 1.66 percent to 32,254 at the end of Thursday. The 500 m of Stnadrd and Poor fell 73.69 points or 1.85 percent to 3,918. Foreign exchange markets were mixed Friday, with the majors rebounding, while the commodity bloc currencies remained flat to lower.

The euro bounced back to a previous high of 1.0580 around the U.S. close Thursday.

The Japanese yen was sharply higher at 136.10, while the British pound made a solid recovery to 1.1920, a gain of more than a cent.

The Canadian dollar fell sharply to 1.3828 by the U.S. close Thursday. The Australian dollar was little changed at 0.6587, as was the New Zealand dollar at 0.6103.

The FTSE 100 in London dropped 0.63 percent on overseas equity markets. The German Dax was flat, up just 0.01 percent. The Paris-based CAC 40 lost 0.12 percent.

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 had a good day, rising 178.96 points or 0.63 percent to 28,623. Hong Kong's Hang Seng dropped 125.51 points to 19,925, down 125.51 points. The Shanghai Composite fell 7.15 points or 0.22 percent to 3,276 on mainland China. In Australia, the S&P ASX 200 went up by 3.30 points or 0.05 percent to 7,311. The Australian All Ordinaries gained 10.50 points or 0.14 percent, to close Thursday at 7,514. The Singapore Straits Times fell 12.35 points or 0.38 percent to 3,214. The S&P NZX 50 lost 29.39 points or 0.25 percent to 11,826 in New Zealand. South Korea's Kospi Composite fell 12.82 points or 0.53 percent to 2,419.