Stocks move lower as Wall Street winds down quiet week

Business

Stocks fell Friday on Wall Street, dragged down by a slide in technology companies and banks, as investors digest another round of corporate earnings.

The S&P 500 was down 0.6% as of 2:50 p.m. Eastern. The benchmark index is on track for its first weekly loss after three weeks of gains. Energy stocks and companies that rely on consumer spending also weighed on the market, offsetting gains in health care, utilities and other sectors.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average was down, 252 points, or 0.7%, to 34,735, and the tech-heavy Nasdaq composite fell 0.6%. Trading has been choppy this week after the three major stock indexes set all-time highs on Monday.

Banks, airlines and other major companies kicked off the latest round of earnings. The reports have been mostly solid, though Wall Street has been somewhat cool to the results as investors gauge how corporations are faring during the recovery and how they might perform for the rest of the year.

Moderna rose 9.3% after the drugmaker was added to the S&P 500 index, prompting a rush of buying from fund managers who need to keep a portfolio of stocks that replicate the index.

On Thursday, Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell delivered his second day of testimony before Congress. Powell reiterated that signs of inflation should ease or reverse over time, while acknowledging that the U.S. is in the midst of an unparalleled economic reopening on the heels of a pandemic-induced recession.

Investors got a bit of positive economic news Friday. Americans spent more last month on clothing, electronics and dining out as the economy opened up and there were fewer pandemic-related restrictions.

U.S. retail sales rose a seasonal adjusted 0.6% in June from the month before, the U.S. Commerce Department said Friday. The increase was a surprise to Wall Street analysts, who had expected sales to fall slightly last month.

Most of investors’ attention is turned to next week. While earnings season started this week with several companies reporting, including the nation’s biggest banks, the bulk of the S&P 500 index will report their results next week and the following week. Expectations are high for these companies, with profits in the S&P 500 expected to be up 64% from a year earlier, according to FactSet.

The yield on the 10-year Treasury note edged up to 1.30% from 1.29% the day before.

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