August 7, 2022

Wall Street Turns Sharply Lower, Reversing Its Gains

About two hours before the close, the Dow was down more than 1 percent, on track for what would be its sixth consecutive week of losses.

The broader market and the Nasdaq were also lower by about 1 percent.

There was little daily economic data to directly depress sentiment, but analysts attributed the decline to a general sense that the global economy was slowing and to fresh reminders that European debt problems were entrenched.

“The markets on the whole are reacting to what we think is a slowdown period of both the U.S. and the broader economy,” Jason D. Pride, the director of investment strategy at Glenmede, said.

“And to put a cherry on top of the scenario, as far as downside pressures, you have this significant unease surrounding exactly what is going to come from the Greek debt issues.”

As stocks fell, Treasury prices rose, partly riding the wave of recent strong sales of short and long bonds.

“The bond market does look to be in a sound position with momentum on its side after the Treasury’s successful sale” this week, said Kevin H. Giddis, the executive managing director and president for fixed-income capital markets at Morgan Keegan Company.

“The 30-year was pretty solid, considering the big decline in yields the past two weeks,” Mr. Giddis wrote in a research note tracking the early trading.

In afternoon trading the Dow Jones industrial average was down 133.51 points, or 1.1 percent, to 11,990.85, while the Standard Poor’s 500-stock index fell 13.72 points, or 1.1 percent. The Nasdaq composite index was lower by 30.71 points, or 1.1 percent.

Financial and energy stocks led the declines. Energy stocks were more than 1.5 percent down after reports that Saudi Arabia would increase oil production.

Caterpillar, the Travelers Companies and Pfizer Inc. were among the shares that lost more than 2 percent on the Dow.

Phil Orlando, chief equity market Strategist at Federated Investors, said that the lower market was a retracing of Thursday’s rally.

“The fact that today is a Friday might be significant,” he said. “Investors have a tendency to not want to be long over a weekend. And the reality is that this euro-zone and sovereign debt issue is very much in play.”

Major indexes in Europe were also trading lower by more than 1 percent. In Asia, China reported a lower than forecast trade surplus in May, and industrial production statistics from Britain came in softer for April.

Oil and metal prices fell. The euro declined as European policy makers continued to appear unable to reach a common view on how to solve the sovereign debt problems in Greece.

In the United States on Thursday, stocks had risen after the nation’s trade data showed the highest exports on record, reaching $175.6 billion in April.

The gains that day ended a six-day losing streak and were the first time stocks rose in June.

Recent economic data, especially related to manufacturing, jobs, and home sales, have sent shares down this month.

“We are going through a period where the economic expansion is likely to be coming in a bit softer than in the past,” said Mr. Pride. “Anytime you have a slow period like this, the concern that we are going to have a relapse starts coming up in the minds of investors.”

Mr. Orlando also said that there were no economic reports due in the week ahead to give investors confidence. He said consumers are expected to “take a break” and retail sales for May, to be released next week, are forecast to reflect that.

If retail companies are taking a hit, he added, then so will manufacturers and the labor market.

“We have had a steady drumbeat of weak economic news,” he said. “There is really nothing on the horizon to suggest in the very near term that trend is going to change.”

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