Wall St falls on dour US economic data


US stocks have fallen as dismal economic and first-quarter earnings reports compounded concerns over the extent of damage from the coronavirus outbreak.

Shares of Bank of America and Citigroup Inc dropped as they joined JPMorgan Chase & Co and Wells Fargo & Co in reporting a slump in first-quarter profits.

Also, Goldman Sachs Group Inc’s quarterly profit nearly halved as it set aside more money to cover for corporate loans expected to go bust in the coming months.

In further evidence of economic damage from the coronavirus, US retail sales plunged 8.7 per cent in March, manufacturing output dropped by the most in over 74 years and a survey showed manufacturing activity in New York state plunged in April to its lowest in the series’ history.

Disappointing bank earnings are weighing on sentiment as well as prospects for the rest of the corporate reporting period, said Paul Nolte, portfolio manager at Kingsview Investment Management in Chicago.

In the coming weeks, “it’s going to be more important to look at companies… from a debt perspective,” he said, noting: “I’m not sure the recovery is going to be as strong as everybody is saying.”

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 445.41 points, or 1.86 per cent, to 23,504.35, the S&P 500 lost 62.7 points, or 2.20 per cent, to 2,783.36 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 122.56 points, or 1.44 per cent, to 8,393.18.

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