US stocks pull back after buoyant start to 2023 - RTHK
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US stocks pull back after buoyant start to 2023

2023-01-19 HKT 05:36
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  • All three major indices on Wall Street fell on Wednesday. Photo: AFP
    All three major indices on Wall Street fell on Wednesday. Photo: AFP
Wall Street stocks finished sharply lower on Wednesday, shedding early gains and pulling back after a heady start to the 2023 trading season.

Major indices had opened higher following US data showing a surprisingly big drop in December retail sales and a decline in wholesale prices.

The reports added to expectations of an upcoming pivot by the Federal Reserve away from aggressive interest rate hikes, boosting sentiment.

But stocks went negative soon after the open, adding to losses in the afternoon.

"It seems like we got a little overbought," said Maris Ogg of Tower Bridge Advisors.

The Dow Jones dropped 1.8 percent to 33,297.

The S&P 500 fell 1.6 percent to 3,928, while the Nasdaq declined 1.2 percent to 10,957.

A Fed report released on Wednesday also described lukewarm US economic activity in recent weeks.

Five of the Fed's 12 districts saw "slight or modest" gains in activity while six reported either no changes or slight declines, said the report, which surveys firms and other contacts. One district saw a significant decline.

"Contacts generally expected little growth in the months ahead," the report added.

Consumer staples stocks were among the hardest hit, with food giant Mondelez International losing 3.7 percent, Kraft Heinz down 6.3 percent and Coca-Cola shedding 3.0 percent.

Among individual companies, Microsoft fell 1.9 percent as it said it was laying off 10,000 employees in response to macroeconomic conditions.

But biotech company Moderna rose 3.3 percent after announcing positive interim trial results for its vaccine against respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) in adults over the age of 60.

Moderna plans to apply for regulatory approval for the vaccine in the US, Europe and other regions in the coming months. (AFP)