Stocks are mostly lower on Wall Street; AMC swings sharply

Markets have been wobbly all week as investors closely watch the labor markets for more signs of economic growth and consider any information that could give more clues about rising inflation.

SHARE Stocks are mostly lower on Wall Street; AMC swings sharply
The front of the New York Stock Exchange is shown, Monday, May 24, 2021. Stocks are opening higher on Wall Street Wednesday, May 26 as inflation fears ease and investors look ahead to data expected to show economic growth accelerating in the U.S.

The front of the New York Stock Exchange is shown, Monday, May 24, 2021. Stocks are opening higher on Wall Street Wednesday, May 26 as inflation fears ease and investors look ahead to data expected to show economic growth accelerating in the U.S.

AP

Stocks mostly fell on Wall Street in afternoon trading Thursday as investors weighed the latest economic reports showing that unemployment claims are falling but labor costs are rising.

Markets have been wobbly all week as investors closely watch the labor markets for more signs of economic growth and consider any information that could give more clues about rising inflation. Labor costs rose at a 1.7% rate in the first quarter, up from the initial estimate that costs had fallen 0.3%. That could stoke more fears that inflation might run hotter than expected.

The S&P 500 index fell 0.2% as of 2:14 p.m. eastern. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 14 points, or less than 0.1%, to 34,613 and the Nasdaq shed 0.8%.

The benchmark S&P 500 was roughly split between gainers and losers, and the slide has erased its gains for the week. Technology companies, whose pricey stock values make them more sensitive to inflation fears, were the biggest weight on the market. Microsoft fell 0.9% and Intel slipped 2%.

A variety of companies that rely on direct consumer spending and communications companies also had some of the biggest declines. Banks and energy companies rose.

Bond yields rose. The yield on the 10-year Treasury rose to 1.62% from 1.59% late Wednesday.

Rising inflation is expected as the economy recovers from the pandemic’s impact, but the key question for many on Wall Street is whether it will be temporary or more permanent.

“The main concern in the markets, rightfully so, is inflation,” said Cliff Hodge, chief investment officer for Cornerstone Wealth. “Data points are beginning to confirm the view that inflation is likely to be more sticky.”

Wall Street will get more detailed data on the labor market Friday when the Labor Department releases its monthly jobs report. Economists are projecting that it will show employers added more than 650,000 jobs in May.

Expectations of a strong increase in hiring have stoked worries about inflation and how the Fed may respond to it. The concern is that the global recovery could be hampered if governments and central banks have to withdraw stimulus to combat rising prices.

Inflation worries are also butting up against the recovery seemingly shifting from a sharp rebound to a grind, which could mean more choppiness as the economy adjusts.

“When the rubber meets the road with the realities of reopening, we think we could be in for a rocky period,” Hodge said.

AMC Entertainment recovered from a sharp pullback and rose 7.7% after the movie theater operator said it would sell more shares following a huge run-up in its stock price on surge of interest from individual investors. The stock is still up about 2,800% this year.

General Motors jumped 6.3% after saying it expects earnings in the first half of the year to exceed its earlier forecasts as its efforts to manage a global computer chip shortage have worked better than expected. Rival Ford Motor rose 6.8%.

European and Asian markets closed mixed.

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