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Shares amplify losses in last trading hour, Dow drops more than 200 points

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August retail sales show an unexpected 0.3% increase;  weekly unemployment claims reached 213,000

US stocks fell amid choppy trading Thursday as investors pondered several economic reports that showed a muddy picture of the US economy.

The Nasdaq Composite lost 1.7%, while the S&P 500 fell 1.3%. The Dow Jones Industrial Average outperformed, but fell 200 points, or 0.6%.

Shares of Adobe weighed on the Nasdaq and S&P 500. Software stocks fell 15% after the company $20 billion deal to Figma. to buy.

Financial stocks outperformed, with Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan each up more than 2%. UnitedHealth Group rose more than 3%. Energy stocks, however, were under pressure, with Chevron falling 1.5%.

On Thursday, first jobless claims came out better than expected, but import prices fell less than estimates suggested. Retail exceeded expectations, but were negative when excluding cars. Manufacturing data also showed a slowing economy. While those reports suggest that the US consumer sector is holding up for now, they will do little to allay concerns about continued inflation.

Wall Street is emerging from a choppy session in which the major averages posted modest gains, but little dented in Tuesday’s massive sell-off. Wall Street is still trying to gain a foothold after a surprise surge in August consumer price index report led to a drop of more than 1,200 points for the Dow on Tuesday.

The persistently high inflation has led investors to fear that the Federal Reserve will be more aggressive with its rate hikes, raising the risk of a recession in the US.

“The Fed needs to pick their poison. Are you going to continue pushing inflation at the risk of a recession, at the risk of rising unemployment? It’s a real dilemma, but I think given what we’ve heard from the Fed, the focus is completely on inflation,” said Mike Loewengart, head of model portfolio construction at Morgan Stanley.

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