US stocks retreat after Fed minutes

New York, April 8 (IANS) US stocks suffered big losses on Thursday as investors continued to digest the minutes from the US Federal Reserve’s latest meeting.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 174.09 points, or 0.98 percent, to 17,541.96, Xinhua news agency reported.

The S&P 500 lost 24.75 points, or 1.20 percent, to 2,041.91. The Nasdaq Composite Index dropped 72.35 points, or 1.47 percent, to 4,848.37.

According to the minutes of Fed’s March 15-16 meeting released on Wednesday, many central bank policy makers expressed concerns over a global economic slowdown in their latest meeting.

“Participants agreed that their ongoing assessments of the data and the implications for the outlook, rather than calendar dates, would determine the timing and pace of future adjustments to the stance of monetary policy,” said the minutes.

On the economic front, in the week ending April 2, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial jobless claims decreased 9,000 from the previous week’s unrevised level to 267,000, below market consensus, the US Labor Department reported on Thursday.

The 4-week moving average was 266,750, an increase of 3,500 from the previous week’s unrevised average of 263,250.

Some traders attributed much of Thursday’s declines to profit-taking in an overall risk-off environment ahead of earnings season.

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