Wall Street ends week lower after latest inflation spike

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange on Sept 10, 2021.
Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange on Sept 10, 2021.PHOTO: REUTERS

NEW YORK (AFP) - US shares closed lower on Friday (Sept 10) for the fourth straight day, with major indices posting losses for the week amid worries about a slowing recovery and rising prices.

While Wall Street equities remain near their all-time highs, investors are grappling with worries over the impact of the Delta variant of the coronavirus on economic activity and supply chains, as delays and shortages are pushing costs higher.

United States wholesale prices posted another record increase in August, in the latest sign that increased demand, coupled with supply and labour shortages, was fuelling US inflation.

The producer price index (PPI) jumped 8.3 per cent from August 2020, not seasonally adjusted, the biggest increase since the data was first collected in November 2010, according to a Labour Department report.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 0.8 per cent to close the week at 34,607.72.

The broad-based S&P 500 fell 0.8 per cent to end at 4,458.58, while the tech-rich Nasdaq composite Index lost 0.9 per cent to 15,115.49.

"This is part of a recent trend downwards in the market, probably fuelled by the Delta variant and the potential for slowing," said Mr Jack Ablin of Cresset Capital.

Mr Ablin said the PPI spike showed "a fair amount of pricing pressure" and believed that caused some concern among investors as it could push the Federal Reserve to tighten monetary policy sooner.

"Nowadays, I think the inflation numbers... are even more important than the jobs readings," he added.

Shares of Apple fell 3.3 per cent after a US judge's ruling loosened the company's control over app store payments, but did not find the technology giant's dominance constituted an antitrust violation.

Epic Games had launched the case aiming to break Apple's grip on its App Store, accusing the iPhone maker of acting like a monopoly in its shop for digital goods or services. Epic has vowed to appeal the ruling.