US stocks retreat; banking shares decline

NEW YORK (AFP) - Wall Street stocks finished lower on Friday (Dec 16) following profit-taking in banking shares and some other equities that had scored big gains in the post-election rally.

Bank of America lost 2.2 per cent and Goldman Sachs shed 1.8 per cent in reversals of the large gains seen since the Nov 8 election prompted a big rally in the sector.

Analysts also cited a disappointing home construction report, which showed a steeper decline than expected in new residential building in November.

At the closing bell, the Dow Jones Industrial Average stood at 19,844.85, down less than 0.1 per cent.

The broad-based S&P 500 shed 0.2 per cent to 2,258.02, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index declined 0.4 per cent to 5,435.54.