US stocks retreat as consumer goods shares tumble

US stocks retreat as consumer goods shares tumble
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New York: Wall Street stocks fell early Thursday with shares of consumer goods companies tumbling after Procter & Gamble cited “difficult” conditions facing the sector.

About 20 minutes into trading, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was at 24,634.55, down 0.5 percent.

The broad-based S&P 500 shed 0.6 percent to 2,693.03, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index lost 0.6 percent at 7,249.48.

Dow member P&G reported essentially flat earnings on slightly higher sales, but executives said the push by retailers to keep prices low was weighing on business. Chief Executive David Taylor vowed to “change at an even faster rate.”

P&G fell 3.8 percent, while Kimberly-Clark and Colgate-Palmolive both dropped more than two percent. Clorox sank 5.8 percent.

Investors have been expecting strong increases overall in first-quarter earnings. While the majority of big companies have exceeded expectations, analysts question whether those results are already baked into equity valuations.

Analysts also cited higher 10-year bond yields as a drag on stocks as investors gird for further Federal Reserve interest rate hikes.

Among other companies reporting, American Express surged 5.4 percent after first-quarter earnings jumped 30.6 percent to $1.6 billion, topping analyst expectations.

AFP