Banks leading way to lower stocks in Wall Street trading

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For My Money, USA TODAY

Stocks fell in afternoon trading on Wall Street Friday, keeping the major indexes on course for their second weekly decline in a row.

The S&P 500 fell 0.4% as of 12:16 p.m. Eastern. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 277 points, or 0.8%, to 35,835 and the Nasdaq fell 0.1%.

Banks were the biggest weight on the market. JPMorgan Chase fell 5.5% after reporting that its profits fell 14% in the latest quarter from a year earlier as its trading business slumped. Citigroup fell 2.2% after reporting its latest results.

A wide range of retailers and other companies that rely on direct consumer spending also fell following a weak retail sales report for December. Home Depot fell 3.3% and Whirlpool fell 4.3%.

Technology stocks gained ground and tempered the market’s losses.

U.S. crude oil prices rose 1.2% and helped send energy stocks higher. Chevron rose 1%.

Bond yields rose. The yield on the 10-year Treasury rose to 1.76% from 1.70% late Thursday.

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The Commerce Department reported that retail sales sank 1.9% in December after Americans cut their spending in the face of product shortages, rising prices and the onset of the omicron variant.

“That’s a lot of bad things to happen in a short amount of time in one of the strongest retail months of the year,” said Robert Cantwell, portfolio manager at Upholdings.

The disappointing retail report is the latest in a series of economic reports this week that has raised concern about inflation and its impact on businesses and consumer spending.

The Labor Department reported on Wednesday that consumer inflation jumped at the fastest pace in nearly 40 years last month, a 7% spike from a year earlier that is increasing household expenses and biting into wage gains. The government agency also reported on Thursday that prices at the wholesale level surged by a record 9.7% for all of 2021.

Rising prices have been prompting businesses to pass more costs on to consumers. Consumers have been pulling back on spending at department stores, restaurants and online as a result of higher prices and supply shortages.

Businesses are also feeling the impact from inflation. Paint maker Sherwin-Williams fell 1.9% after reporting disappointing fourth-quarter earnings because of raw materials costs and supply chain problems. Boston Beer, which makes Sam Adams beer, slumped 6.8% after cutting its earnings forecast because of supply chain problems.

Concerns over persistently rising inflation are also prompting the Federal Reserve to trim its bond purchases and consider raising interest rates earlier and more often than Wall Street had expected less than a year ago.