By Amruta Khandekar and Noel Randewich
(Reuters) – Wall Street ended mixed on Friday after a volatile session that saw Tesla slump and other growth stocks also lose ground.
Worries about surging inflation and rising interest rates have pummeled the U.S. stock market this year, with danger signals from Walmart Inc and other retailers this week adding to fears about the economy.
Wall Street opened stronger on Friday morning before turning sharply negative and adding to deep losses sustained earlier in the week.
The S&P 500 closed about 18% down from its Jan. 3 record high close. Closing down 20% from that record level would confirm it has been in a bear market since reaching that high, according to a common definition. That would be the S&P 500’s second bear market since the 2020 global selloff caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
The tech-heavy Nasdaq was last down close to 29% from its record close in November 2021.
Graphic: S&P 500 bear markets – https://fingfx.thomsonreuters.com/gfx/mkt/klpykodqmpg/Pasted%20image%201653065756392.png
Weighing heavily on the S&P 500, Tesla tumbled after Chief Executive Elon Musk denounced as “utterly untrue” claims in a news report that he sexually harassed a flight attendant on a private jet in 2016.
Other megacap stocks also fell, with Apple, Google-owner Alphabet Inc, Microsoft and Nvidia losing ground.
Shares of Deere & Co dropped after the heavy equipment maker posted downbeat quarterly revenue.
Recent disappointing forecasts from big retailers Walmart, Kohl’s Corp and Target Inc have rattled market sentiment, adding to evidence that rising prices have started to hurt the purchasing power of U.S. consumers.
On Friday, Ross Stores plunged after the discount apparel retailer cut its 2022 forecasts for sales and profit, while Vans brand owner VF Corp gained on strong 2023 revenue outlook.
The S&P 500 and the Nasdaq are set for their seventh straight week of losses, their longest losing streak since the end of the dotcom bubble in 2001.
The Dow is on track for its eighth consecutive weekly decline, its longest since 1932 during the Great Depression.
Traders are pricing in 50-basis point rate hikes by the U.S. central bank in June and July.
According to preliminary data, the S&P 500 gained 0.72 points, or 0.02%, to end at 3,901.51 points, while the Nasdaq Composite lost 33.12 points, or 0.29%, to 11,355.38. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 9.81 points, or 0.03%, to 31,262.94.
Expiration of monthly options contracts on Friday was likely to boost trading volumes and could also add to volatility, especially toward the end of the session.
About two thirds of S&P 500 stocks are down 20% or more from their 52-week highs.
(Reporting by Amruta Khandekar and Devik Jain in Bengaluru, and by Noel Randewich in Oakland, Calif.; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta, Arun Koyyur and Grant McCool)