Stocks Slide on Wall Street, Worldwide

Dow drops 256 points amid debt deal worries
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted May 24, 2023 3:54 PM CDT
Stocks Slide on Wall Street, Worldwide
Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy expresses his frustration with Democrats and President Biden over the debt limit negotiations as he speaks to reporters in Statuary Hall at the Capitol, Wednesday, May 24, 2023.   (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Wall Street fell again Wednesday, part of a worldwide swoon for stocks as worries about the economy pile higher. The S&P 500 fell 30.34 points, or 0.7%, to 4,115.24 after House Speaker Kevin McCarthy said Republicans and Democrats remain far apart in efforts to prevent a default on the US government’s debt, the AP reports. The main US stock index is on track for its worst week in more than two months as the once-unthinkable creeps closer to possibility. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 255.59 points, or 0.8%, to 32,799.92. The Nasdaq composite fell 76.08 points, or 0.6% to 12,484.16.

Other markets around the world were hit even harder as discouraging figures piled up on the economy. Stock indexes tumbled 1.7% in London, 1.9% in Frankfurt and 1.6% in Hong Kong. On Wall Street, the focus is squarely on Capitol Hill and the White House, where the US government could run out of cash to pay its bills as soon as June 1 unless Congress allows it to borrow more. The widespread expectation is that a default would result in tremendous economic pain.

Helping to limit Wall Street’s losses were several companies that reported stronger results for the start of the year than analyst expected. Kohl’s jumped 7.5% after reporting a surprise profit for its latest quarter, helped in part by momentum at its Sephora beauty shops. Analysts had expected it to turn in a loss. Resilient spending by US consumers has helped to keep the economy out of a recession even as manufacturing and other areas struggle with higher interest rates. With the job market remaining solid, economists at Goldman Sachs said they expect consumer spending to remain a source of strength for the economy through this year.

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Homebuilder Toll Brothers rose 2.1% after reporting much better results than analysts expected for the latest quarter. On the losing side, Agilent Technologies tumbled 6% despite reporting stronger profit and revenue for the latest quarter than analysts expected. Analog Devices fell 7.8% despite also reporting stronger profit and revenue for the latest quarter than expected. It gave a forecast for earnings in the current quarter that fell short of analysts' expectations. Also on the losing side was Intuit, which fell 7.5%. The company behind TurboTax reported weaker revenue than expected for the latest quarter.

(More stock market stories.)

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