NEW YORK (AFP): Wall Street stocks ended Friday’s session decisively lower as banking shares wobbled on contagion fears, after the failure of regional lender Silicon Valley Bank.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished down 1.1 percent at 31,909.96.
The broad-based S&P 500 fell 1.5 percent to 3,861.59, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index slid 1.8 percent to 11,138.89.
The SVB debacle dominated investors’ focus all day, with the Nasdaq suspending trade on the stock before the market opened, overshadowing a solid US jobs report.
The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation announced it was seizing control of SVB and would reopen branches on Monday to allow customers to recover up to $250,000 in deposits. The move makes SVB the largest retail bank to fail since 2008.
“It’s the second day of concerns around the banking sector and questions whether this reflects any systemic risk,” said Angelos Kourkafas of financial services firm Edward Jones. “Probably, the answer to that is no. But still, confidence is a bit shaken,” he said.
SVB’s problems were sparked by customer withdrawals that led the company to liquidate securities positions whose values had plummeted due to the Federal Reserve’s interest rate hikes.
“What today and this week shows is that we are beginning to feel the effect of Fed tightening on the markets and the economy,” Kourkafas said.
The hardest-hit banks included First Republic Bank which slumped 14.8 percent, and Comerica, which slipped five percent. Fifth Third Bancorp was down 4.2 percent.
Larger banks such as JPMorgan Chase and Bank of America — both of which suffered bruising losses on Thursday — either rose or fell modestly.
Among other companies, Boeing advanced 0.9 percent as the Federal Aviation Administration cleared the way for the delivery resumption of 787 Dreamliner planes, concluding that the aviation giant had addressed earlier concerns.
Caterpillar dove 5.8% following a downgrade from UBS, which said the company’s weakening outlook was “underappreciated.”