U.S. stocks close lower amid Italy uncertainty, bank sector losses

Source: Xinhua| 2018-05-30 06:35:44|Editor: mmm
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A trader works at the New York Stock Exchange in New York, the United States, May 29, 2018. U.S. stocks closed lower on Tuesday. The Dow was down 1.58 percent to 24,361.45, and the S&P 500 was down 1.16 percent to 2,689.86, while the Nasdaq fell 0.50 percent to 7,396.59. (Xinhua/Wang Ying)

NEW YORK, May 29 (Xinhua) -- U.S. stocks closed sharply lower on Tuesday amid concerns over Italian politics and rout of bank stocks.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 391.64 points, or 1.58 percent, to 24,361.45. The S&P 500 was down 31.47 points, or 1.16 percent, to 2,689.86. The Nasdaq Composite Index fell 37.26 points, or 0.50 percent, to 7,396.59.

Investors were concerned about Italian politics. With an assertive move to put a temporary end to an 85-day-long stalemate, Italian President Sergio Mattarella on Monday named economist Carlo Cottarelli as Italy's new prime minister-designate.

Cottarelli was asked to form a technical cabinet able to lead the country to snap elections -- either in late 2018 or early 2019 -- after the efforts by anti-establishment Five Star Movement (M5S) and rightwing League to form a government failed on Sunday.

Shares of large banks went down sharply, following a drop in U.S. Treasury yields.

As the risk-off attitude fueled demand for safer asset classes, the rate on the U.S. 10-year Treasury yields fell to 2.78 percent Tuesday, down from highs above 3.1 percent in recent weeks.

Large banks such as JPMorgan Chase, Morgan Stanley, and Goldman Sachs all plunged more than 3 percent at market close.

Shares of JPMorgan Chase erased 4.27 percent to close at 105.93 U.S. dollars apiece. Shares of Morgan Stanley dropped 5.75 percent to close at 49.96 dollars apiece after its co-head of wealth management division said business slowed in the past three months. Stocks of Goldman Sachs declined 3.4 percent to close at 227.03 dollars apiece.

On the economic front, the Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index increased in May, following a modest decline in April after a downward revision. The index now stands at 128.0, up from 125.6 in April.

The index measures U.S. sentiment on current economic conditions and expectations for the next six months. Consumer spending accounts for about 70 percent of U.S. economic activity, drawing economists' attention to the numbers.

U.S. home prices continued their rise in March, with growth in big cities accelerating, said a report on Tuesday.

According to a report released by S&P Dow Jones Indices Tuesday, the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller U.S. National Home Price NSA Index reported a 6.5-percent annual gain in March, the same as the previous month.

The 10-City Composite annual increase came in at 6.5 percent, up from 6.4 percent in the previous month. The 20-City Composite posted a 6.8 percent year-over-year gain, no change from the previous month.

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