Wall Street equities end mixed on weak data, earnings

NEW YORK (AFP) – US stocks ended mixed in the final trading session of the week, with weak bank earnings sending the Dow 200 points lower, though tech shares recovered by the close.

Bank shares were battered by underwhelming results and fears about rising costs, while disappointing US retail sales data and souring consumer confidence undermined investor sentiment.

Brian Price, head of Investment Management for Commonwealth Financial Network, pointed to “a few negative catalysts” driving the market.

“The weak retail sales print along with underwhelming earnings reports and guidance from some large banks both seem to be weighing on the market,” he told AFP.

In economic data, retail sales fell 1.9 per cent in the final month of the year, the Commerce Department said, as shoppers pulled back amid the latest Covid-19 wave and as higher prices bit into consumption.

A University of Michigan survey showed consumer sentiment fell sharply in January, due to the Omicron wave and escalating inflation.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 0.6 per cent to end the week at 35,911.81.

The broad-based S&P 500 eked out a 0.1 per cent gain to 4,662.85, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index managed a 0.6 per cent increase to finish at 14,893.75.

Investors are focused on inflation, and expectations the Federal Reserve will soon begin raising interest rates.

“Consensus seems to be building that we’ll see the first rate increase in March and I don’t think today’s retail sales report will change that view,” Price said.

New York Fed President John Williams on Friday (Jan 14) was the latest central bank official to signal coming rate increases to combat inflation, but he said the timing and number of hikes will depend on how the data evolve.

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Shares Citigroup and JPMorgan Chase fell sharply after the banks reported lower fourth-quarter profits amid rising costs even as full-year profits soared.


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