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US Stocks Turn Negative After Volatile Thursday Session

US stocks closed in negative territory on Thursday after a choppy trading session, adding to losses from Wednesday when markets witnessed a sharp sell-off across major equity benchmarks.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell by 0.8% to 31,253.13 while the S&P 500 slid by 0.6% to 3,900.79. The Nasdaq Composite traded 0.3% lower to 11,388.50. Consumer staples and technology were the steepest decliners, while materials was among the only three sectors registering gains.

The US 10-year yield fell by 3.8 basis points to 2.85%, extending its recent declines amid persisting concerns that economic growth is slowing.

West Texas Intermediate crude oil futures climbed by $1.81 to $111.40 a barrel.

On Wednesday, Target (TGT) sparked a sell-off that pushed the S&P 500 close to the bear-market territory — considered a 20% drop from a recent high — after the discount retailer said higher costs ate into quarterly earnings, echoing a similar comment from Walmart (WMT) previously. The S&P 500 is now about 19% below its record level reached in January.

Among retailers, department store chain Kohl's (KSS) also reported being negatively impacted by inflation headwinds, slashing its fiscal 2022 outlook after first-quarter results lagged expectations. The stock was up 4.4%.

In other corporate earnings news, Under Armour (UA) plunged almost 16%, the biggest decline on the S&P 500, after CEO Patrik Frisk said he would step down on June 1 and be succeeded on an interim basis by chief operating officer Colin Browne.

Cisco Systems (CSCO) also cut its fiscal 2022 guidance as the Ukraine war and lockdowns in China weighed on sales, and the company said port congestion when Shanghai reopens was a worry for the current quarter. Shares slumped 13.7%, the worst performer on the Dow and the Nasdaq 100.

In economic news, the US existing home sales fell to a 5.61 million seasonally adjusted annual rate in April, its lowest level since June 2020, from 5.75 million in the previous month, the National Association of Realtors said Thursday. The consensus was for a drop to 5.65 million in a survey compiled by Bloomberg,

"The third straight decline in sales is no fluke," Pantheon Macroeconomics Chief Economist Ian Shepherdson said in a research note. "Activity is now clearly responding to the drop in mortgage demand, which indicates that bigger declines are coming, very soon."

Gold climbed $24 to $1,846.40 per ounce and silver rose $21.95 to $21.95 per ounce. Among energy ETFs, the United States Oil Fund was up 1.6% to $80.58 while the United States Natural Gas Fund was down 1.8% to $27.98.