Consumer sentiment in May dropped to its lowest reading since last November as a standoff to raise the federal government’s borrowing cap fanned worries about the economy’s outlook.
Markets have been watching for signs of a breakthrough in raising the U.S. government’s $31.4 trillion debt ceiling to avoid a catastrophic default.
A meeting between President Joe Biden and top lawmakers that was scheduled for Friday has been postponed and the leaders agreed to meet early next week.
“If the consumer turns negative, if inflation has finally gotten to the point where consumers can’t spend, they’ve got concerns about their job outlook, that is yet another headwind,” said Steve Wyett, chief investment strategist at BOK Financial.
Earlier in the week, both consumer and producer prices cooled a bit, while weekly jobless claims posted their sharpest rise in 1-1/2-years, but at a pace that helped boost the bets of a pause in the Fed’s rate hikes.
Meanwhile, Fed Governor Michelle Bowman said the central bank would probably need to raise interest rates further if inflation stays high, adding that key data so far this month had not convinced her that price pressures were receding.
The indexes rose at the opening bell on gains in Tesla Inc following news that top boss Elon Musk had found a new chief executive for Twitter. But they soon reversed gains to fall 2.3%.
Musk later announced that NBCUniversal executive Linda Yaccarino would be Twitter chief.
The KBW Regional Banking index looked set to extend declines for a fifth straight session, trading about 1% lower on concerns over the sector’s health following the collapse of three regional lenders.
At 12:25 a.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 131.40 points, or 0.39%, at 33,178.11, the S&P 500 was down 21.64 points, or 0.52%, at 4,108.98, and the Nasdaq Composite was down 83.06 points, or 0.67%, at 12,245.45.
All three indexes were set to decline for the week, with the Dow on track to end 1.4% lower. The Nasdaq and the S&P 500 were on course to shed 0.1% and 0.6%, respectively, for the week.
First Solar Inc. shares jumped 24.0%, gaining the most on the S&P 500, after the solar panel maker acquired Sweden’s thin-film solar cell technology firm Evolar AB.
News Corp. gained 5.9% after the media conglomerate beat Wall Street estimates for third-quarter profit.
Netflix Inc. plans to cut its spending by $300 million this year according to a report. Its shares were down 1.5%.
Data showed U.S. import prices increased in April for the first time since late 2022 amid higher fuel costs, but imported inflation pressures remained subdued.
Declining issues outnumbered advancers for a 1.87-to-1 ratio on the NYSE and for a 1.83-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.
The S&P index recorded 19 new 52-week highs and 15 new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 46 new highs and 172 new lows.
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