Belfast Telegraph

US stocks hit by biggest loss in six weeks

US stocks have fallen to their biggest loss in six weeks as banks and technology companies tumbled.

Interest rates moved lower, hurting financial stocks, while the dollar continued to fall compared to the Japanese yen. Stocks have fallen for three out of four days this week.

Stocks sharply reversed course after their gains a day ago.

Financial companies including Goldman Sachs and Citigroup took the largest losses, while technology and telecommunications companies also fell.

The market has lost momentum over the last few weeks after a furious rally that wiped out most of its losses from early 2016.

Scott Wren, senior global equity strategist for Wells Fargo's Investment Institute, said stocks are rising and falling based on how investors expect the global economy to do.

"People are worried about growth today," he said. "You're not getting much more than modest economic activity."

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 174.09 points, or 1%, to 17,541.96. The Standard & Poor's 500 index shed 24.75 points, or 1.2%, to 2,041.91. The Nasdaq composite index lost 72.35 points, or 1.5%, to 4,848.37.

Financial companies fell sharply. Goldman Sachs slid 4.78 dollars (£3.30), or 3.1%, to 150.41 dollars (£106) and Citigroup lost 1.59 dollars (£1.12), or 3.8%, to 40.27 dollars (£28.50) while JPMorgan Chase dipped 1.49 dollars (£1.05), or 2.5%, to 57.32 dollars (£40.60).

Online auction site eBay led tech stocks lower as it fell 1.33 dollars (94p), or 5.2%, to 24.10 dollars (£17) and Apple gave up 2.42 dollars (£1.70), or 2.2%, to 108.54 dollars (£76.80). Telecommunications companies continued to struggle. Verizon fell 1.52 dollars (£1), or 2.8%, to 52 dollars (£36).

Wynn Resorts jumped 10.44 dollars (£7.40), or 11.7%, to 99.99 dollars (£71) after the hotel and casino company proposed a new development. Wynn said it wants to build a recreational lake and hotel behind its Wynn Las Vegas property.

US government bond prices rose. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to 1.69% from 1.76%. The dollar continued to weaken against the yen, and is now at its lowest compared to the yen in almost a year and a half. On Thursday it fell to 108.24 yen from 109.62 yen. The euro declined to 1.1377 dollars from 1.1410 dollars.

Benchmark US crude fell 49 cents, or 1.3%, to 37.26 dollars (£26.40) per barrel in New York. Brent crude, used to price international oils, dropped 41 cents to 39.43 dollars (£28) a barrel in London.

The price of gold rose 13.70 dollars (£9.70) or 1.1%, to settle at 1,237.50 dollars (£876) an ounce and silver gained 10 cents to 15.16 dollars (£10.70) an ounce. Copper plunged seven cents, or 3.1 percent, to 2.08 dollars (£1.47) a pound.

In other energy trading, wholesale gasoline fell 1 cent to 1.38 dollars (97p) a gallon. Heating oil slipped 1 cent to 1.13 dollars (79p) a gallon. Natural gas rose 11 cents, or 5.6%, to 2.02 dollars (£1.42) per 1,000 cubic feet.

The US Labour Department said applications for unemployment benefits fell slightly last week. That shows employers are not slashing jobs, even though there are signs economic growth is weak.