US stocks retreat for fifth day as commodity, biotechs slide

NEW YORK (BLOOMBERG) - U.S. stocks fell, with equities headed for a fifth consecutive decline, as raw-material and energy shares retreated with commodity prices and biotechnology companies extended a selloff.

The Standard & Poor's 500 Index fell 0.8 per cent to 1,915.74 at 9:33 a.m. in New York (9:33 pm Singapore time) on Monday, with gauge headed for its longest losing streak since August.

"There's no conviction in this market whatsoever and there hasn't been for a very long time," said Michael Ingram, a market strategist at BGC Partners in London.

"If the Fed appears to be so hesitant, why should traders who are putting money to work on a daily basis be any more confident? The other issue is what's going on in China."

Federal Reserve Bank of New York President William C. Dudley said today the central bank will "probably" raise interest rates later this year despite uncertainties over global growth. "I think that the economy is doing pretty well," Mr Dudley said at an event in New York. He said he expected growth in the second half will be "a little bit weaker" than in the first half.

Equity markets have been turbulent in recent weeks amid confusion over the Federal Reserve's tightening policy and concern over a slowdown in Asia. Data on Monday showed profits of Chinese industrial companies fell the most since the country's government began compiling data in 2011. Biotechnology shares tumbled on Friday, offsetting gains fueled by Fed Chair Janet Yellen's reassurances that turbulence in emerging markets won't harm U.S. growth.

A report today showed household spending climbed more than forecast in August and incomes also rose as the biggest part of the U.S. economy continued to power past a global slowdown. Consumer purchases climbed 0.4 per cent, matching the gain in July that was larger than previously reported. Incomes advanced 0.3 per cent.

Quarterly Drop The S&P 500 was down 6.4 percent in the third quarter through Friday, poised for its worst fall since 2011 and trading at a three-week low. The Chicago Board Options Exchange Volatility Index has closed above 20 for the past 25 sessions, the longest streak since 2012.

Stocks fell after the Fed's decision to hold off raising rates on Sept. 17 raised questions about the impact of a global growth slowdown on the U.S. Despite Yellen signaling last week that the central bank is on track to raise rates in 2015, traders are pricing in a 40 percent probability of the event in December and a 48 percent chance in January.

The Nasdaq Biotechnology Index slid into a bear market on Friday amid its worst weekly decline in four years. The rout was sparked by a tweet from Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton suggesting there may be "price gouging" in the market for prescription drugs.