Stocks Fall as Market Turns Choppy Amid Inflation Concerns

By The Associated Press
The Associated Press
The Associated Press
November 17, 2021 Updated: November 17, 2021

Stocks fell in morning trading on Wall Street Wednesday as the broader market takes a choppy turn amid lingering concerns about rising inflation.

The S&P 500 fell 0.3 percent as of 10:20 a.m. ET. The losses pulled the benchmark index further below the record high it reached on Nov. 8. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 153 points, or 0.4 percent, to 35,988 and the Nasdaq fell 0.3 percent.

Financial and technology stocks led the losses. Morgan Stanley fell 2.5 percent. Visa fell 5.4 percent after after Amazon said it would no longer accept Visa cards issued in the United Kingdom in a dispute over fees. Payments processing rival Mastercard fell 4.1 percent.

A mix of health care companies and companies that rely on direct consumer spending held up better than the rest of the market.

Bond yields edged lower. The yield on the 10-year Treasury fell to 1.62 percent from 1.63 percent late Tuesday.

Major indexes have been choppy as investors shift focus following several weeks of solid corporate earnings. A series of worrisome reports on inflation tripped up stocks last week and the broader market has been swaying between gains and losses so far this week.

Investors reviewed more corporate report cards from retailers following a solid report on Tuesday showing that retail sales jumped in October. T.J. Maxx and Marshalls parent TJX jumped 9.3 percent after reporting strong third-quarter financial results. Home improvement retailer Lowe’s gained 2.5 percent as it raised its revenue forecast for the year following strong third-quarter financial results.

Retails sales reports and earnings are being closely watched by investors as they try to gauge just how much rising inflation is impacting business operations and consumer spending. Many companies have warned that profit margins could suffer as they face supply chain problems and higher costs overall. Consumers have been absorbing higher prices on a wide range of goods and that has investors worried about the potential for a pullback in spending.

The latest earnings reports reflect some of the damage from rising inflation. Target, which reported mostly solid financial results, also saw its margins tighten because of higher merchandise, freight, and supply chain costs. It’s stock fell 4.6 percent.

Walmart reported similarly solid financial results on Tuesday, but also revealed that inflation hurt its profit margins.

Macy’s will report its latest financial results on Thursday.

Investors received a mixed report on the housing market. Construction of new homes in the United States fell 0.7 percent in October, but a big jump in the number of permits last month points to anticipation by builders that supply chain problems that have dogged them for much of the year will soon ease. Homebuilders were mixed following the report.

By Damian J. Troise