Stocks are falling on Tuesday as Wall Street nears the
end of a volatile month, battered by worries about a possible recession,
inflation and rising interest rates.

The S&P 500 index fell 53.01 points or 1.27% to
4,105.23 as of 10:11 a.m. Eastern Time Zone. The Dow Jones Industrial Average
was down 481.80 points or 1.15% to 32,831.16. The Nasdaq composite was 118.61
points or 1.55% down to 11,942.52.

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Outlining the worries about inflation, oil prices jumped
above $119 toward their highest levels since the early days of Russia’s war in

Brent crude, the international oil benchmark, surged 2%
to $119.95 per barrel after the European Union agreed to slash the majority of
oil imports from Russia. Benchmark US crude was up 3.2% at $118.76.

This year, oil prices have jumped 60% so far and have
been a big contributor to the very high inflation around the world. A report on
Tuesday showed that inflation in the 19 countries that use the euro currency
hit 8.1% in May, the highest level since records began in 1997.

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US President Joe Biden will meet Federal Reserve
Chairman Jerome Powell on Tuesday as rising inflation continues to carve up
American’s earnings.

The Tuesday meeting will be the first since Biden
renominated Powell to lead the central bank and weeks after the Senate
confirmed a second term. They would discuss the state of the US and global
economy and especially four-decade high inflation, described as Biden’s “top
economic priority”.

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The S&P 500 is moving towards a 0.5% loss for May,
which would bring it 14.3% below its record set early this year. However, the
slight gain for the month is in stark contrast to the big swings that shook
investors throughout.

Slowing data on the U.S. economy raised concerns that
high inflation will force the Federal Reserve to raise rates so aggressively
that it will cause a recession.

Additionally, some high-profile retailers have expressed
concern that inflation is eating into their profits.

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They all combined to bring Wall Street to the brink of
the bear market, where the S&P 500 was on the verge of losing more than 20%
below its record.

However, stocks have recovered marginally and have
managed to avoid a bear market. The S&P 500 is coming off its best week in
a year and a half, amid hopes that inflation may have hit its peak and will
begin moderating.

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Relaxation of COVID-19 related restrictions in China also
helped, easing some of the worries about the world’s second-largest economy and
more disruptions to global supply chains.