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Stocks can’t hold onto early gain, resume falling

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Banks and energy companies led a broad slide for stocks Tuesday on Wall Street, handing the S&P 500 its sixth loss in the past seven trading days.

The S&P 500 fell 0.6% after an early gain faded by midafternoon. The benchmark index’s 11 sectors all ended in the red, with banks, energy stocks and industrial and communication companies among the biggest drags on the index. The selling more than offset the S&P 500’s modest gain from a day before.

The market had started higher after the latest data on inflation came in better than economists had expected, but reversed course within the first hour of trading, suggesting the report didn’t ease investors’ inflation worries. On Friday the government reported that U.S. wholesale prices jumped sharply in August.

“There are still inflationary pressures even if they (consumer prices) came in lower than expected,” said Kristina Hooper, chief global market strategist at Invesco. “It doesn’t mean that it’s over.”

The S&P 500 fell 25.68 points to 4,443.05. The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 292.06 points, or 0.8%, to 34,577.57. The Nasdaq composite fell 67.82 points, or 0.5%, to 15,037.76.

Small companies fared worse than the broader market. The Russell 2000 index slid 30.80 points, or 1.4%, to 2,209.98.

U.S. consumer prices rose a lower­-than-expected 0.3% last month, the smallest increase in seven months and a hopeful sign that inflation pressures may be cooling. Still, the report followed an 8.3% annual increase in wholesale prices last month from August 2020, the biggest annual gain since the Labor Department started calculating the 12-month number in 2010.

That report on prices at the wholesale level was worse than expected, signaling problems for companies contending with higher costs, Hooper said. Those costs could be passed along to consumers, but companies unable to do that could see their upcoming earnings get dented.

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