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Wall Street nears bear market at the end of a bruising week

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks are falling on Wall Street again on Friday and are headed for another week of declines following a massive pullback two days ago. The S&P 500 fell 1.7% and is now down 20% from the record high it reached in January. If the index closes at this level or lower it will have entered a bear market for the first time since early in the pandemic. The S&P 500, the basis for many index funds, is heading for its seventh weekly decline in a row. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 1.4% and the tech-heavy Nasdaq fell 2.4%. Bonds yields fell.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. AP’s earlier story follows below.

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks fell in late morning trading on Wall Street Friday and are headed for another week of declines following a massive pullback two days ago.

The S&P 500 fell 0.7% as of 11:27 a.m. Eastern, and is on track for its seventh straight weekly decline after getting close to entering a bear market this week. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 211 points, or 0.7%, to 31,041 and the Nasdaq fell 0.9%.

All three are headed for drops of 3% or more for the week.

Technology stocks fell broadly and weighed down the market. Applied Materials, which produces chipmaking equipment, fell 5.1%. The tech sector has been particularly choppy and prompted many of the big swings in the market throughout the week. The lofty stock values for many companies in the sector give it more leverage in pulling the broader market higher or lower.

Bond yields fell. The yield on the 10-year Treasury fell to 2.81% from 2.85% late Thursday.

The stock market remains stuck in a slump amid worries about how inflation is squeezing businesses and consumers. Investors are also concerned about the Federal Reserve’s plan to aggressively raise interest rates and whether that will help temper inflation’s impact or crimp growth too much and send the economy into a recession.

Concerns about inflation have been growing heavier with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine pushing energy and some key food commodity prices higher. China, the world’s second-largest economy, took a renewed hit from lockdowns in key cities because of COVID-19 cases, but a surprise interest rate cut from the Chinese government has at least temporarily eased some anxiety.

Markets in Asia and Europe made solid gains.

Wall Street has been digesting earnings from retailers this week. The sector is a key focus as investors try to measure how much damage inflation is inflicting on company operations and whether higher prices on everything from food to clothing is prompting consumers to tighten their spending.

Retail giants Target and Walmart both had warnings this week about inflation cutting into finances. Discount retailer Ross Stores plunged 22.2% on Friday after cutting its profit forecast and citing rising inflation as a factor.

Several retailers were rewarded for encouraging results. Ugg footwear maker Deckers Outdoor rose 13.1% and Foot Locker rose 1.7% after beating analysts’ earnings forecasts.

Investors continue watching the Fed for hints of more interest rate hikes to cool inflation that is running at a four-decade high. Fed Chair Jerome Powell said this week the U.S. central bank might take more aggressive action if price pressures fail to ease.



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