Wall Street closing lower; bank stocks fall

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FILE - In this Feb. 16, 2021 file photo, pedestrians pass the New York Stock Exchange in New York. Stocks were moving lower in the first hour of trading Friday, March 19, as bond yields continued to rise. Bank stocks fell after the Federal Reserve announced it would end some of its emergency measures put into place for the industry last year to help deal with the pandemic. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II, File)

BEIJING – Wall Street closed out a choppy week of trading Friday with major stock indexes mostly lower and all finishing in the red for the week.

The S&P 500 ended 0.1% lower after reversing a small gain. The benchmark index, which hit an all-time high on Wednesday, posted its first weekly decline in three weeks. Losses by banks, industrial companies and technology stocks weighed on the market. They offset gains in companies that rely on consumer spending, health care and other sectors.

Bond yields were mixed, though the 10-year Treasury yield inched higher. The closely watched yield, which influences interest rates on mortgages and other consumer loans, has hovered this week near the highest level since January.

Higher yields put downward pressure on stocks generally, in part because they can steer dollars away from the stock market and into bonds instead. That makes investors less willing to pay as high prices for stocks.

“Overall, the very near term concerns are going back to some of the bigger picture questions,” said Barry Bannister, chief equity strategist at Stifel. “How high can yields go and what does that mean for stock valuations?”

The S&P 500 lost 2.36 points to 3,913.10. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 234.33 points, or 0.7%, to 32,627.97, pulled lower by financial companies. The technology-heavy Nasdaq Composite rose 99.07 points, or 0.8%, to 13,215.24.

Smaller company stocks also notched gains. That helped the Russell 2000 index of smaller companies claw back some of its losses from a day earlier. It picked up 19.96 points, or 0.9%, to 2,287.55.

A late-burst of selling may have been caused by “quadruple witching,” the simultaneous expiration of four kinds of options and futures contracts. The phenomenon happens four times a year and forces traders to tie up loose ends in contracts they hold.