By Joe Wallace 

U.S. stocks edged down Monday, following a week in which concerns about inflation whipsawed markets.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 142 points, or 0.4%, after the opening bell. The S&P 500 dropped 0.4%, while the technology-heavy Nasdaq Composite declined 0.5%.

With earnings season drawing to a close, investors remain focused on whether a recent jump in inflation will blow over or become entrenched. A protracted spell of faster growth in consumer prices could prompt the Federal Reserve to tighten monetary policy, potentially hurting stocks and other assets that have gained from low interest rates.

Those concerns last week led the S&P 500 to post its biggest decline since late February, even after staging a rebound Friday. Highflying tech stocks have been particularly vulnerable to worries about inflation: The Nasdaq Composite has fallen for four straight weeks, its longest losing streak since August 2019.

"We see this as transitory, but you never know: there is stuff in here that could take a bit longer," said Lars Skovgaard Andersen, investment strategist at Danske Bank Wealth Management. "There will be some volatility in markets still."

Discovery's Class A shares jumped 6.6%. The television company said it would combine its media assets with those of AT&T into a new publicly traded company. AT&T, which would receive $43 billion, rose over 4.3%.

ViacomCBS rose 2.7%. The media company said late Friday it will reclaim Les Moonves's $120 million severance package, resolving a more than two-year dispute with the former chief executive over his termination.

Quickening inflation has sharpened focus on statements by Fed officials, who have made the case that the pickup will fade, allowing the central bank to keep supporting the economy. Vice Chair Richard Clarida is due to speak at the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta Financial Markets Conference at 10:05 a.m. ET.

Bitcoin dropped more than 8% over the weekend to around $45,100 after a tweet by Tesla Chief Executive Elon Musk prompted speculation that the electric-car maker had sold, or would sell, its holdings of the cryptocurrency. Mr. Musk later tweeted that Tesla hadn't sold any bitcoin. Tesla shares slipped 1.4%.

Gold futures rose 0.8% to $1,853.30 a troy ounce, their highest level since February. Money has started to flow back into the SPDR Gold Trust, the biggest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, this month.

In the bond market, the yield on 10-year Treasury notes was 1.639%, unchanged from Friday.

Overseas, the Stoxx Europe 600 was recently up less than 0.1%. Chinese stocks rose after data showed the nation's industrial output jumped 9.8% year-over-year in April, beating forecasts, while retail sales rose by a lower-than-expected 17.7%. The Shanghai Composite Index advanced 0.8%.

In Taiwan, the benchmark Taiex fell 3%, building on a pullback of more than 8% last week. Over the weekend, authorities implemented more restrictive measures to combat Covid-19 amid a spike in new local infections, and on Monday Taiwan reported a record high of 333 new local cases.

Japan's Nikkei 225 lost 0.9%.

Chong Koh Ping in Singapore contributed to this article.

Write to Joe Wallace at


(END) Dow Jones Newswires

May 17, 2021 10:17 ET (14:17 GMT)

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