Stocks fell on Thursday amid criticism of the Federal Reserve by President Donald Trump. A decline in bank shares also pushed the broader market down.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 134.79 points to close at 25,064.50, with Travelers Cos. and American Express lagging. The S&P 500 slipped 0.4 percent to 2,804.49, with financials dropping more than 1 percent. The Nasdaq Composite also pulled back 0.4 percent to 7,825.30.
In an exclusive interview with CNBC’s Joe Kernen, Trump said he was not thrilled the Fed was raising rates. “Because we go up and every time you go up they want to raise rates again. I don’t really — I am not happy about it. But at the same time I’m letting them do what they feel is best.”
“I think the market will ignore it because (Fed Chairman Jerome) Powell will ignore it,” said Maris Ogg, president at Tower Bridge Advisors. “He’s a real estate guy… he’s going to think rates going up are a bad thing no matter what.”
Fed officials, including Powell, have raised interest rates twice this year and have pointed to two more before the end of 2018.
“We’ll see if it transpires that the President actually calls Chairman Powell,” said Quincy Krosby, chief market strategist at Prudential Financial. “Many commentators have suggested early on – as it became clear that the Fed, under Chairman Powell was intent on normalizing rates whether it was going to be two rate hikes or four rate hikes – this what the intention of the Fed as, on the whole, conditions are positive for raising rates and while the underlying economy is still strong.”
Bank shares fell broadly as interest rates declined. J.P. Morgan Chase, Citigroup, Bank of America and Morgan Stanley all declined by more than 1 percent. Their declines sent the Financials Select Sector SPDR Fund down by 1.5 percent. The 10-year Treasury note yield fell to 2.83 percent.
Wall Street also digested looked at the latest batch of corporate earnings being released, while trade fears simmered.
IBM shares rose more than 3 percent after the Dow component reported earnings and revenue that surpassed expectations. American Express, another Dow member, posted a profit that was just above estimates, while sales came in slightly below estimates. Shares of American Express fell 2.7 percent.
Shares of eBay fell more than 10 percent after the company posted revenue and guidance that disappointed investors. Earnings, however, topped estimates. Tech giant Microsoft is scheduled to report earnings after the close.
“We’re getting some mixed signals,” said Tom Martin, senior portfolio manager at Globalt. “The initial reaction to the bank earnings was a bit negative, but it has improved since Friday. … eBay’s report was weak across a lot of areas.”
Just over 13 percent of S&P 500 companies have reported calendar second-quarter earnings thus far, with 85.1 percent of those firms surpassing analyst expectations, according to FactSet. Investors have high expectations for this earnings season, with analysts polled by FactSet expecting 20 percent year-over-year profit growth for the second quarter.
“Clearly for the next few weeks earnings are likely to become a major driving force of the market,” said Michael Shaoul, chairman and CEO of Marketfield Asset Management.
“January’s strong (earnings) season had been fully discounted by the market and April’s was derailed by the emergence of the trade dispute and fears of margin compression. We are hopeful that the
third time might prove lucky, particularly for some of the globally integrated and economically sensitive groups that have remained becalmed for much of the recent recovery in the overall equity market,” Shaoul said.
The earnings season comes as tensions between the U.S. and some of its key trade partners are simmering. On Thursday, European Union Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom said the EU is making a list of goods it could target as a way to retaliate against potential tariffs on European cars.
Malmstrom’s comments come after U.S. President Donald Trump threatened to hike tariffs on European car imports to 20 percent from 2.5 percent last month. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said, however, it was “too early” to say whether the U.S. will impose tariffs on cars.
—CNBC’s Michael Sheetz contributed to this report.