Wall Street falls amid commodities vibration and inflation concerns

14:48, May 14, 2011      

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Wall Street suffered a turbulent week as investors weighed Greek debt problems, inflation concerns and the recent volatility in commodities markets for direction.

According to a senior European Central Bank official, restructuring Greece's sovereign debt would pose potentially incalculable risks to the overall eurozone and will not solve the country's fiscal crisis. Investors' concerns over Greek debt problems exerted a downward pressure on the stock market.

On the economic front, this week's mixed economic data made investors concern more about the job market and global inflation, especially after the U.S. Labor Department said on Friday that Consumer Price Index (CPI) increased 0.4 percent in April after rising 0.5 percent in March.

The core CPI, excluding food and energy, gained 0.2 percent, more than the market's 0.1-percent consensus. Investors worried that the trend might make the Federal Reserve tighten the liquidity, as the CPI was considered a major gauge to measure monetary policy.

Moreover, U.S. core producer prices rose 0.3 percent in April for the second consecutive month. The continuing rising producer price suggested that the underlying inflation threat still existed, although the Fed said that higher gas prices would not have impact on business and inflation in the long run.

Meanwhile, according to Thomson Reuters and University of Michigan, U.S. consumer sentiment index rose to 72.4 in May, a three-month high, from a final reading of 69.8 in April, showing consumers were feeling more confident about the economy even with rising food and gasoline prices.

The slightly positive data, however, still failed to overcome the negative concerns of investors. Also, the U.S. Labor Department said on Thursday that the number of people seeking unemployment benefits dropped by 44,000 to a seasonally adjusted 434,000, posting the biggest weekly fall since February 2010.

But the number did not erase investors' concern about the job market. Some of them worried that the U.S. economic recovery might turn weak on sluggish labor market and house market.

As of shares, the finance sector slumped 1.33 percent, leading the laggards on Friday. Basic materials shares, the biggest loser of this week, dropped 1.19 percent on Friday as commodities prices were still under a sell-off pressure. The energy sector, also one of the week's poor performers, declined 0.87 percent.

The Dow Jones industrial average lost 100.17 points, or 0.79 percent, to 12,595.75 on Friday. The Standard & Poor's 500 fell 10. 88 points, or 0.81 percent, to 1,337.77. The Nasdaq Composite Index was the worst performing average, dropping 34.57 points, or 1.21 percent, to 2,828.47.

Source: Xinhua
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