(AP) -- Financial companies led U.S. stocks sharply lower in early trading Wednesday as investors fretted over the potential fallout roiling the Trump administration. Banks fell along with bond yields. Phone companies and industrial stocks were among the big decliners. Real estate stocks bucked the broader market decline.
KEEPING SCORE: The Standard & Poor's 500 index fell 25 points, or 1.2 percent, to 2,375 as of 10:26 a.m. Eastern Time. The Dow Jones industrial average slid 235 points, or 1.1 percent, to 20,744. The Nasdaq composite index gave up 79 points, or 1.3 percent, to 6,090. The Russell 2000 index of smaller stocks sank 21 points, or 1.5 percent, to 1,373.
TRUMP JITTERS: A published report late Tuesday revealed that Trump allegedly made a personal appeal to now-fired FBI Director James Comey to drop the bureau's investigation into former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn. The White House denied the report. Even so, the latest political drama unfolding in Washington weighed on markets, stoking concerns over how the potential fallout may affect the Trump administration's ability to pass corporate tax cuts and other business-friendly reforms.
BANKS SLIDE: Several financial companies were sharply lower as bond yields fell. Bank of America sank 2.7 percent and Wells Fargo lost 2 percent. Falling bond yields mean lower interest rates on loans and tighter profits for banks.
STRONG QUARTER: Target jumped 4.2 percent after the retailer posted surprisingly strong earnings for the first quarter. The stock gained $2.31 to $56.84.
JACKED: Jack in the Box climbed 7.6 percent after the restaurant chain's latest quarterly results exceeded Wall Street's forecasts. The shares added $7.71 to $109.60.
TREASURY YIELDS: Bond prices rose. The 10-year Treasury yield fell to 2.24 percent from 2.33 percent late Tuesday.
CURRENCIES: Unease over the potential implications of the latest political fallout in Washington weighed on the dollar Wednesday. The euro strengthened to $1.1142 from $1.1095. Against the yen, the dollar was down to 111.52 yen from 113.03.
OIL: Benchmark U.S. crude rose 26 cents to $48.92 per barrel in New York. Brent crude, used to price international oils, was up 21 cents to $51.86 per barrel in London.
MARKETS OVERSEAS: In Europe, Germany's DAX was down 0.9 percent. The CAC 40 in France fell 1.2 percent. The FTSE 100 index of leading British shares was 0.3 percent lower. Asian markets mostly fell. Japan's Nikkei 225 dropped 0.5 percent, while South Korea's Kospi dipped 0.1 percent. Hong Kong's Hang Seng index slipped 0.2 percent.