Wall Street shares close lower after data, rail agreement

NEW YORK (AFP) – US stocks ended sharply lower on Thursday, battered again by worrisome economic data and concerns about the impact of further aggressive Federal Reserve action next week.

Equities got off to a good start after US President Joe Biden announced a tentative deal to avert a potentially damaging railroad strike, but those gains fizzled.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 0.6 per cent to finish at 30,961.88.

The broad-based S&P 500 fell 1.1 per cent to 3,901.35, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index sank 1.4 per cent to end at 11,552.36.

While the railroad deal avoided another painful hit to supply chains, a raft of economic data did not help the cause.

US retail sales rose surprisingly in August in the latest illustration of the resiliency of American consumers. However, the report also downgraded sales in the prior month, tempering the good news.

And while weekly jobless claims retreated once again, US industrial production fell modestly in August.

Shares have taken a beating recently after troubling inflation data for August, showing widespread price increases in the month, solidified the view the Fed will raise the benchmark lending rate by 0.75 percentage point, with some floating the possibility of an even more aggressive step.

Among individual companies, Adobe plunged 16.8 per cent after agreeing to acquire Figma, an Internet-based collaborative design platform, for US$20 billion (S$28 billion) in cash and stock.