US Stocks Fall on Wholesale Price Jump

(AP) -- Stocks fell in morning trading on Wall Street Tuesday as traders took in the latest sign that inflation is still running high ahead of the Federal Reserve's last meeting of the year.

The S&P 500 index fell 0.7% as of 10:15 a.m. Eastern. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 5 points, or less than 0.1%, to 35,658 and the Nasdaq fell 1.3%.

The benchmark S&P 500 index has slightly more gainers than losers, but it was pulled lower by falling technology stocks, which have hefty values and tend to hold more weight. Microsoft fell 3% and Adobe shed 6.6%.

Several big communications companies also fell. Facebook parent Meta shed 1.4% and Google parent Alphabet fell 2.8%.

Bond yields moved higher. The yield on the 10-year Treasury rose to 1.46% from 1.42%. That helped banks make gains, as they rely on higher yields to charge more lucrative interest on loans.

JPMorgan Chase rose 1.6% and Bank of America rose 2.5%.

Energy and industrial stocks also made gains.

Investors received another update on persistently rising inflation. The Labor Department reported that prices at the wholesale level surged by a record 9.6% in November from a year earlier. The department's producer price index measures inflation before it reaches consumers.

Businesses have been dealing with supply chain problems and higher costs for months. It has been a key concern for investors as big companies pass those costs off to consumers, who have so far been absorbing higher prices on everything from groceries to clothing and other consumer products.

The discouraging report on inflation precedes the last two-day meeting of the Federal Reserve this year, which starts Tuesday. The central bank is expected to speed up the withdrawal of economic stimulus measures in the face of rising inflation. Specifically, it plans to speed up the process for trimming bond purchases, which have helped keep interest rates low and support the stock market and broader economy.

Investors are also monitoring the central bank for any statements on how soon it might raise interest rates in 2022.

Wall Street is also closely monitoring any news on the newest coronavirus variant that is spreading rapidly in Britain and some other regions. It appears to cause less severe disease than previous versions of the coronavirus, according to an analysis of data from South Africa. Pfizer's vaccine seems to offer less defense against infection from it but still offers good protection from hospitalization.