Stocks end lower on Wall Street; AMC sinks after stock sale

Stocks closed lower on Wall Street, led by more declines in big technology companies and putting the S&P 500 in the red for the week

By DAMIAN J. TROISE and ALEX VEIGA, AP Business Writers

June 3, 2021, 8:52 PM

• 4 min read

BANGKOK — Technology companies helped drag stocks lower on Wall Street Thursday, knocking the S&P 500 into the red for the week. The benchmark S&P 500 index dropped 0.4% and is now on track for a 0.3% weekly loss. Technology companies, whose pricey valuations make them more sensitive to inflation fears, were the most considerable weight on the market. Microsoft fell 0.6%, and Apple lost 1.2%. Retailers, hotel operators, and various other companies that rely on direct consumer spending also posted some of the most significant declines, as did communications companies. Etsy slid 5.4%, Tesla dropped 5.3%, Wynn Resorts fell 4.1%, and Facebook lost 0.9%. Banks and healthcare companies rose.

The selling came as investors weighed the latest economic reports showing that unemployment claims are falling, but labor costs are rising. Traders were also looking ahead to the government’s latest monthly jobs report Friday, which could clarify the economic recovery and the potential for higher inflation. “There’s less conviction about what the jobs report may be, so you’re seeing the markets move a little sideways here,” said Megan Horneman, director of a portfolio strategy at Verdence Capital Advisors. “We’ve gotten all these fantastic growth numbers, and now we’ve got to look past that and look toward the future at the actual growth beyond the pandemic, and people are just trying to get a handle on what that may look like.”

stock sale

The S&P 500 fell 15.27 points to 4,192.85. The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 23.34 points, or 0.1%, to 34,577.04. The tech-heavy Nasdaq lost 141.82 points, or 1%, to 13,614.51. The Russell 2000 index of smaller companies gave up 18.59 points, or 0.8%, to 2,279.25. Bond yields rose. The yield on the 10-year Treasury rose to 1.63% from 1.59% late Wednesday. Markets have been shaky all week as investors closely watch the labor markets for more signs of economic growth and consider any information that could give more clues about rising inflation. Labor costs rose at a 1.7% rate in the first quarter, up from the initial estimate that prices had fallen 0.3%. That could stoke more fears that inflation might run hotter than expected.

Rising inflation is expected as the economy recovers from the pandemic’s impact, but the critical question for many on Wall Street is whether it will be temporary or more permanent. “The main concern in the markets, rightfully so, is inflation,” said Cliff Hodge, chief investment officer for Cornerstone Wealth. “Data points are beginning to confirm the view that inflation is likely to be more sticky.” Wall Street will get more detailed data on the labor market Friday when the Labor Department releases its monthly jobs report. Economists are projecting that it will show employers added 650,000 jobs in May.

Expectations of a strong increase in hiring have stoked worries about inflation and how the Fed may respond to it. The concern is that the global recovery could be hampered if governments and central banks have to withdraw stimulus to combat rising prices. Inflation worries are also butting up against the rally, seemingly shifting from a sharp rebound to a grind, which could mean more choppiness as the economy adjusts. “When the rubber meets the road with the realities of reopening, we think we could be in for a rocky period,” Hodge said.

AMC Entertainment slumped 17.9%, shedding gains from a brief rally after the movie theater operator’s announcement that it would sell more shares following a huge run-up in its stock price on a surge of interest from individual investors. The stock is still up about 2,300% this year. Rival Ford Motor climbed 7.2% for the biggest gain in the S&P 500. General Motors jumped 6.4% after saying it expects earnings in the first half of the year to exceed its earlier forecasts as its efforts to manage a global computer chip shortage have worked better than expected. European and Asian markets closed mixed.

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