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12/04/24 Briefing

Stocks stumbled on Friday as the kick off to earnings season amplified worries over a protracted battle against inflation.

The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite (^IXIC) slid 1.6%, while the S&P 500 (^GSPC) shed 1.5%. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (^DJI) fell 1.2%, or just under 500 points.

Stocks slumped after an underwhelming showing from the banking sector, the first in a wave of corporate earnings that come after asurprisingly hot consumer price print spooked investors earlier this week.

Wall Street is scrutinizing quarterly results from big banks to assess the potential impact if interest rates remain higher than expected this year.

JPMorgan's (JPM) shares fell after its profit beat targets as CEO Jamie Dimon flagged "inflationary pressures" and Federal Reserve policy as concerns. The start to earnings season flattened hopes that corporate updates could revive the early-year stock rally. Wells Fargo (WFC) Citigroup (C), and BlackRock (BLK), the world's biggest asset manager, all fell into the red after their reports.

Meanwhile, precious metals gave up some of their shine: Gold (GC=F) rallied above $2,400to hit another fresh record, but settled around $2,300, while silver (SI=F) traded at its highest since early 2021. Demand is seen as driven by investors seeking safety amid heightening Middle East tensions but shunning US government bonds in the face of inflation concerns.

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