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NEW YORK: Wall Street stocks retreated again early Wednesday as deepening recession worries add to angst over Federal Reserve moves that have pressured equities in recent sessions.

After a buoyant stretch from mid-October to the end of November, stocks have been on the back foot most of December as investors worry they have misread the likelihood of a shift from the Fed’s aggressive stance on monetary policy.

Investors now fear the central bank will hike rates higher than previously thought.

Adding to that has been worsening business sentiment, as shown in CEO surveys projecting a pullback in hiring and capital investment over the next six months.

“It appears that investors are starting to weigh the possibility of a recession next year,” said Jack Ablin of Cresset Capital, adding that a downturn would hit corporate earnings in 2023.

Meta Platforms, banks pull Wall Street lower

About 20 minutes into trading, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 0.2 percent at 33,535.00.

The broad-based S&P 500 shed 0.3 percent to 3,930.00 while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index dropped 0.7 percent to 10,943.01.

Among individual companies, Lowe’s rose 2.1 percent as the home-improvement retailer announced a new $15 billion stock repurchase authorization at an investor conference.

It also said it was targeting profit margins of 14.5 percent in 2025, up from 12.6 percent in 2021.

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