Wall Street equities end lower after three-day rally, Companies & Markets News & Top Stories

NEW YORK (AFP) – US stocks took a breather from this week’s stretch of gains on Thursday (Dec 9), with two of the three main indices closing with solid losses and the Dow ending flat.

The declines ended a three-day rally that took Wall Street back near record territory, amid positive data on the jobs markets but a day before a key inflation report.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average ended at 35,754.69, less than a point below Wednesday’s close.

The broad-based S&P 500 lost 0.7 per cent to finish at 4,667.45, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index was the biggest loser, dropping 1.7 per cent to 15,517.37.

“I don’t see where the selling pressure really comes from,” said Maris Ogg of Tower Bridge Advisors. “I’m not sure it’s very obvious where the buying pressure would come from either. So we probably just waffle around for the rest of the year.”

Investors appear to have gotten over concerns about the latest Covid-19 variant while new claims for jobless benefits dropped sharply last week, again bringing them to levels not seen since 1969.

Attention now turns to Friday’s much-anticipated November consumer price data.

Rising worries about inflation have prompted the Federal Reserve to signal it will accelerate its timetable for scaling back stimulus in order to potentially raise interest rates.

“The market had a very nice rally on the impression that Omicron will not be particularly dangerous” but “there remains the other concern, inflation, but especially the Fed’s reaction,” said Gregori Volokhine of Meeschaert Financial Services.

Annual inflation spiked to a 30-year high in October, and President Joe Biden on Thursday indicated he expects another high reading, but said the data will not capture the fact that prices for key goods, including gasoline, have started to decrease.

Among individual companies, Starbucks shed 0.8 per cent after workers in Buffalo, New York voted to support a union, the first at US company-owned shop.

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