U.S. stocks retreat on geopolitical tensions

Source: Xinhua| 2017-04-16 02:38:16|Editor: Mengjiao Liu
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NEW YORK, April 15 (Xinhua) -- U.S. stocks retreated for the week amid increasing geopolitical tensions and a batch of economic reports.

The U.S. military has dropped the largest non-nuclear bomb in Afghanistan on an Islamic State target, the Pentagon said Thursday.

U.S. President Donald Trump on Thursday gave the order for the U.S. military to drop a GBU-43 or Massive Ordnance Air Blast (MOAB) bomb on an IS cave complex in Nangarhar Province in Afghanistan, the first time such a bomb has been used in combat.

"The strike was designed to minimize the risk to Afghan and U.S. Forces conducting clearing operations in the area while maximizing the destruction of ISIS-K fighters and facilities," the Pentagon said in a statement.

The MOAB, which weighs about 22,000 pounds, is nicknamed "Mother Of All Bombs."

The White House has accused Russia of trying to cover up the suspected chemical weapon attack in Syria, though Trump has said the United States will not launch a ground war in the Mideast country, according to Market Watch.

In addition, the Trump administration is also navigating rising tensions with the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK).

On the economic front, the Producer Price Index (PPI) for final demand declined 0.1 percent in March, seasonally adjusted, missing market consensus, the U.S. Labor Department reported Thursday.

On an unadjusted basis, the final demand index rose 2.3 percent for the 12 months ended March 2017, the largest increase since moving up 2.4 percent for the 12 months ended March 2012.

In a separate report, the department said that in the week ending April 8, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 234,000, a decrease of 1,000 from the previous week's revised level.

U.S. import prices declined 0.2 percent in March, in line with market consensus, the Labor Department reported Wednesday. In contrast, the price index for U.S. exports increased 0.2 percent in March, after advancing 0.3 percent in February.

The number of job openings was little changed at 5.7 million on the last business day of February, said the U.S. Labor Department Tuesday.

Comments from Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen also weighed on the market.

The Fed was shifting its focus from stimulating the economy to keeping growth on an even keel, Yellen said Monday after the closing bell.

Yellen said during an event at the University of Michigan that the economy was "pretty healthy," thanks in part to the Fed's long-running stimulus campaign, which the central bank is moving to end.

The Fed raised its benchmark interest rate in March for the third time since the financial crisis, and said it planned two more rate increases this year.

According to the minutes from the Fed's March meeting, the central bank also planned to begin reducing its large holdings of securities by the end of the year.

For the week, the blue-chip Dow edged down 0.98 percent, and the broader S&P 500 fell 1.13 percent, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq decreased 1.24 percent.