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Stocks lower as bond yields rise; bank stocks fall

8 months 2 weeks 2 days ago Friday, March 19 2021 Mar 19, 2021 March 19, 2021 10:07 AM March 19, 2021 in News
Source: Associated Press

Stocks were moving lower in the first hour of trading Friday as bond yields continued to rise. Bank stocks fell after the Federal Reserve announced it would end some emergency measures put into place for the industry last year to help deal with the pandemic.

The S&P 500 index was down 0.4% as of 9:55 a.m. Eastern. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.8%, pulled lower by bank and energy companies, while the Nasdaq Composite was up 0.1%.

Overnight, the S&P 500 index closed down 1.5%, putting it on track for its first weekly loss in three weeks. As interest rates have risen, pricier stocks like technology companies have fallen.

The yield on the 10-year U.S. Treasury note was up to 1.74% in early trading, continuing its climb after being stable earlier this week. The security is used to price a multitude of financial products, like the traditional 30-year mortgage, and higher interest rates have given investors some concern that it may slow economic growth.

There are also concerns that the rise in bond yields could be a harbinger of inflation. Fed officials said earlier this week that they may let the U.S. economy “run hot” for some time in order to not stymie the economic recovery as the pandemic eases.

On Friday the Fed announced it would end some of the emergency measures put into place during the pandemic. It will restore some of the capital requirements for big banks that were suspended in the early months of the pandemic, in order to give banks flexibility. The banking industry had been hoping for an extension of those measures.

Big bank stocks were particularly hurt, since the Fed’s measures mostly apply to the nation’s largest banks. Citigroup, Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo were all down 3%.

Shares of transportation company FedEx leaped 5% in early trading after the company reported earnings well above analysts’ estimates.

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