Stocks sink after more bad news on the US economy

Stocks sank on Friday as the U.S. stock market logged its second-straight weekly loss.

At the close, the S&P 500 was down 1.1%, the Dow was off 0.9%, and the Nasdaq fell 1%.

Friday’s leg lower for stocks followed preliminary readings on economic activity in the U.S. this month from S&P Global, which showed a further deterioration in activity to start December.

S&P Global’s services PMI fell to a four-month low, while its manufacturing index hit a 31-month low in December.

“Business conditions are worsening as 2022 draws to a close, with a steep fall in the PMI indicative of GDP contracting in the fourth quarter at an annualized rate of around 1.5%,” said Chris Williamson, chief business economist at S&P Global Market Intelligence. “Jobs growth has meanwhile slowed to a crawl as firms across both manufacturing and services take a much more cautious approach to hiring amid the slump in customer demand.”

On Thursday, the November retail sales report was unexpectedly weak, prompting concern over the health of the U.S. consumer, which has been the driver of a better-than-expected economy this year.

Investors also had an eye on crude oil Friday, with WTI futures down more than 3% to trade near $74.30 a barrel. Early this week, oil hit a new 2022 low.

The moves down Friday clinched another week of losses for markets during a historically bullish period. Last week saw the S&P 500 suffer its worst weekly loss since late September.

Friday’s trading came after Thursday’s deep sell-off that saw the Nasdaq fall more than 3%, as the Federal Reserve’s interest-rate increase on Wednesday was followed by matching moves Thursday morning from the Bank of England and the European Central Bank.

Federal Reserve Board Chairman Jerome Powell leaves after a news conference following the announcement that the Federal Reserve raised interest rates by half a percentage point, at the Federal Reserve Building in Washington, U.S., December 14, 2022. REUTERS/Evelyn Hockstein TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY

On the the earnings calendar, news was light, with Darden Restaurants (DRI) and Winnebago Industries (WGO) both rising after their latest reports.

In crypto markets, bitcoin (BTC-USD) and other major cryptocurrencies were under selling pressure Friday, with bitcoin dropping below $17,000. Earlier this week, bitcoin had risen above $18,000 for the first time since the collapse of FTX in early November.

News accounting firm Mazars had paused its work with Binance and all other crypto firms weighed on the space early Friday.

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