NEW YORK (AFP) - Wall Street stocks finished lower on Thursday (Oct 13) following weak Chinese trade data, with large US banks retreating on the eve of major earnings reports.
Chinese exports sank 10 per cent year-on-year in September and imports fell 1.9 per cent, showing a sharp slowdown in trade in the world's second-biggest economy.
JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup and Wells Fargo all fell ahead of earnings releases on Friday morning.
Of the three, Wells Fargo had the biggest drop, losing 1.3 per cent as embattled chief executive John Stumpf resigned following a scandal surrounding bogus accounts. He will be replaced by president Tim Sloan.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average shed 0.3 per cent to 18,098.94, after earlier having pared more than 1 per cent.
The broad-based S&P 500 lost 0.3 per cent at 2,132.55, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index dropped 0.5 per cent to 5,213.33.
Delta Airlines rose 1.9 per cent as it announced it plans to add only 1 per cent flight capacity in the fourth quarter and through 2017 in order to boost fares.
American Airlines jumped 5 per cent, United Continental 1.5 per cent and Southwest Airlines 3.4 per cent.
Ulta Salon, Cosmetics & Fragrance surged 11.4 per cent as it lifted its third quarter forecast and launches new skincare and cosmetics products. It boosted its forecast for comparable sales to 14-15 per cent from the prior range of 11-13 per cent.
Merck rose 1.4 per cent following an upgrade from Bank of America.