US stocks drop amid inflation fears, vaccine progress

About 35 minutes into trading, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 0.2 per cent to 31,483.11. — AFP pic
About 35 minutes into trading, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 0.2 per cent to 31,483.11. — AFP pic

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NEW YORK, Feb 24 — Wall Street stocks declined early today as investor jitters over inflation risks offset optimism about progress on coronavirus vaccines.

Equities have been under pressure for the last week or so as yields on US Treasury notes have jumped in anticipation of greater inflation under the hefty US fiscal spending favoured by US President Joe Biden.

However, investors also have been engaging in bargain hunting, which lifted the Dow and S&P 500 into positive territory by the close of yesterday’s markets.

Markets were cheered by comments from Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell signaling that interest rates will remain low for some time. Powell is scheduled for a second congressional hearing today.

About 35 minutes into trading, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 0.2 per cent to 31,483.11.

The broad-based S&P 500 shed 0.4 per cent to 3,864.70, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index dropped 1.2 per cent to 13,303.65.

Investors were cheered by news from the US Food and Drug Administration that the single-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine is highly effective in preventing severe Covid-19, including the South African and Brazil variants.

Johnson & Johnson rose 0.7 per cent. — AFP

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