Stocks on Wall Street had their worst week in nearly four months after comments from Federal Reserve policymakers that signalled the US central bank was acutely aware of budding inflationary pressures.

The benchmark S&P 500 slid 1.3 per cent on Friday, taking its losses for the week to 1.9 per cent. Roughly 90 per cent of the stocks in the blue-chip index were lower on the day, including shares of big banks and US oil majors.

Investors shifted out of some of their most popular trades of the year, including an earlier push into shares of smaller companies seen as particularly sensitive to economic growth. The small-cap Russell 2000 index recorded its heaviest weekly loss since late January, falling more than 4 per cent.

The moves followed comments from Jay Powell, Fed chair, on Wednesday that investors took as a signal that the US central bank would act to tame inflation and that policymakers were not solely focused…

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