Wall Street had its biggest pullback of the year Wednesday as a January market rally sputtered. Technology stocks led the way lower, including a 1.9% drop in Microsoft after the tech titan joined others in its industry in announcing layoffs. Weak readings on retail sales and industrial production also helped keep investors in a selling mood. The S&P 500 fell 62.11 points, or 1.6%, to 3,928.86. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 613.89 points, or 1.8%, to 33,296.96. The Nasdaq fell 138.10 points, or 1.2%, to 10,957.01. Japanese stocks ended higher after the Bank of Japan kept its loose monetary policy unchanged, dispelling speculation that it would raise rates to fight inflation.
Treasury yields fell broadly after the government reported that Americans cut back on their spending more than anticipated last month, the second straight decline. The government also reported more encouraging inflation data. Wholesale prices rose 6.2% in December from a year earlier, a sixth straight slowdown for the measure of prices before they are passed along to consumers, the AP reports. Investors are reviewing the latest batch of corporate earnings to get more insight into how inflation and consumer spending are affecting profits and revenue. PNC Financial Services Group fell 6% after reporting weak earnings.
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