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US Stocks Fall in Late Sell-off        01/20 15:55

   A late-afternoon sell-off wiped out gains for stocks on Wall Street Thursday 
and sent major indexes deeper into losing territory for the year.

   (AP) -- A late-afternoon sell-off wiped out gains for stocks on Wall Street 
Thursday and sent major indexes deeper into losing territory for the year.

   The sharp about-face for the broader market was once again directed by 
technology stocks, which have been behind choppy trading throughout week. As 
investors prepare for higher interest rates, shares in pricey tech companies 
and other expensive growth stocks look relatively less attractive.

   The S&P 500 fell 50.03 points, or 1.1%, to 4,482.73, with nearly 85% of 
stocks in the index falling. The benchmark index closed at a three-month low 
after having been up as much as 1.5% earlier in the day.

   The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 313.26 points, or 0.9% to 34,715.39.

   The Nasdaq fell 186.23 points, or 1.3%, to 14,154.02. The index's losses in 
recent months had by Wednesday left it in what Wall Street considers a market 
correction, or 10% below its peak.

   Apple fell 1% and chipmaker Nvidia shed 3.7%.

   A mix of retailers and communications stocks also fell. Investors reversed 
course from earlier in trading and shifted money back toward safe-play 
investments. Utilities, which are considered less-risky, were the only sector 
within the S&P 500 that eked out gains.

   Bond yields fell. The yield on the 10-year Treasury fell to 1.81% from 1.82%.

   Stocks are headed for weekly losses in what has so far been a losing month 
for every major index. The downturn follows a strong 2021 where the S&P 500 
gained 26.9%. Investors may be resetting their expectations moving ahead, said 
Mark Hackett, chief of investment research at Nationwide.

   "Investors are starting to get more realistic about the way the world is 
going to look going forward," he said.

   The Labor Department gave Wall Street a disappointing update on the labor 
market with its weekly unemployment report. The number of Americans applying 
for unemployment benefits rose to the highest level in three months as the 
fast-spreading omicron variant continued to disrupt the job market.

   The job market has had a rocky recovery from the virus pandemic. The 
unemployment rate fell last month to a pandemic low 3.9%.

   Employment data was also closely watched by investors trying to gauge how it 
would effect the Federal Reserve's decision to ease up on support for the 
markets and economy. The central bank made it clear early in the pandemic that 
it was basing much of its support on how quickly employment recovers.

   The Fed is now expected to raise interest rates earlier and more often in 
order to fight rising inflation that threatens to derail a further economic 
recovery. Supply chain problems and higher raw materials costs have prompted 
businesses to raise prices on finished goods and economists are concerned that 
consumers will eventually grow tired of paying higher prices and cut their 
spending.

   Companies are reminding investors that supply chain problems are still 
weighing on operations. Recent inflation reports have been worrisome, while 
economic data on retail sales has also disappointed.

   "These are all the things that are justifying some of the sloppiness we're 
starting the year with," Hackett said.

   The latest round of corporate earnings is also giving investors a clearer 
picture of where Americans are spending money and how inflation is impacting 
the economy.

   American Airlines fell 3.2% and United Airlines slipped 3.4% after warning 
investors that the latest surge in COVID-19 cases will hurt their finances 
early in 2022. Both airlines reported losses for the fourth quarter, though 
they were smaller than analysts' expected.

   Aluminum products maker Alcoa jumped 2.7% after reporting strong 
fourth-quarter financial results as prices for commodities rose. Insurer 
Travelers rose 3.2% after handily beating analysts' financial forecasts.

   Peloton shares lost about a quarter of their value after CNBC reported the 
company is temporarily halting production of its treadmills and exercise bikes. 
The business news network said it reviewed internal Peloton documents that 
indicated demand for the company's connected fitness equipment had fallen 
sharply because of pricing and competition. Peloton shares soared as people 
exercised at home in the first year of the pandemic, but have fallen 85% since 
closing at an all-time high of $167.42 on Jan. 13, 2021. On Thursday, its 
shares lost 23.9% to $24.22.

 
 
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