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Markets

US stocks fall on mixed data, valuation concerns

  • About 15 minutes into trading, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 0.7 percent at 31,396.85.
Published February 18, 2021

NEW YORK: Wall Street stocks tumbled early Thursday following mixed economic data as investors fretted over lofty equity valuations and the risk of greater inflation.

New US jobless claims -- which have been elevated for months due to the coronavirus pandemic -- rose 13,000 in the week ended February 13, to 861,000.

New home construction fell in January for the first time in five months, although building permits increased during the month.

Investors remain optimistic that Washington will soon approve more stimulus spending, but there is also unease about high equity valuations and rising yields on US Treasury bonds.

Higher long-term interest rates "have generally been an excuse to take some money off the table," said Briefing.com analyst Patrick O'Hare.

About 15 minutes into trading, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 0.7 percent at 31,396.85.

The broad-based S&P 500 fell 0.7 percent to 3,905.08, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index dropped 0.9 percent to 13,837.67.

Among individual companies, Walmart fell 5.9 percent as it announced a big hike in capital spending on technology and higher employee wages. The retail giant reported a 7.3 percent increase in quarterly sales to $152.1 billion.

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