Shares of retailers and other consumer companies fell as inflation concerns lingered and a flight from high-risk "meme" stocks continued.
Procter & Gamble shares rose after the consumer products giant posted growth in fourth-quarter earnings ahead of Wall Street targets, as it successfully passed on price increases to consumers. P&G executives said they anticipate having to raise prices further in the coming months, but said consumers' focus on health and hygiene will enable the company to continue growing profit margins.
European consumer-products giant Unilever said it wouldn't increase its $68 billion offer for GlaxoSmithKline's consumer-healthcare business, effectively walking away from a potential deal that would have added a raft of drugstore staples to its portfolio.
Shares of "meme stocks," such as videogame chain GameStop and cinema chain AMC Entertainment, continued their recent downdraft, as the prospects of higher interest rates caused a flight from the market niches considered the most risky. Meme stocks went on torrid 2021 runs, in large part because the Federal Reserve provided extraordinary liquidity, said one money manager, noting that the retreat from these stocks is a response to the Fed's recent pivot.
"I don't think the Fed's disappointed that the market's experiencing a little bit more difficulty, especially in the pockets that were overvalued, and, quite frankly, didn't make sense," said Brent Schutte, chief investment strategist at money manager Northwestern Mutual Wealth Management.
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(END) Dow Jones Newswires