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US stocks fall again, Wells Fargo shares sink

NEW YORK (AFP) – Wall Street stocks fell again early Monday, adding to last week s losses as worries about excess equity valuations and rising interest rates continued to dent investor sentiment.

About 20 minutes into trading, the Dow Jones Industrial Average had lost 1.0 percent to 25,254.98. The blue-chip index on Friday saw its biggest drop in more than a 18 months.

The broad-based S&P 500 dropped 0.8 percent to 2,739.69, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite shed 0.7 percent to 7,187.75.

After streaking to numerous records in the first three weeks of the year, US stocks last week began to pull back. And Friday s strong jobs report contributed to the sell-off amid rising concern the US Federal Reserve will accelerate the pace of interest rate hikes this year.

The jobs data showed strengthening wages, suggesting the long run of low inflation could be shifting just as new Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell takes office. Powell was sworn in Monday.

Shares of Wells Fargo plummeted 8.4 percent after the Fed late Friday ordered the troubled banking giant to halt its expansion until it improves governance, following “persistent misconduct.” As part of the reform efforts, Wells Fargo will replace four board members this year.

Some of the large companies that led Friday s drop continued to retreat, including ExxonMobil, Chevron and Google-parent Alphabet, all losing at least one percent.

But Apple, which also slumped Friday, gained 0.7 percent.

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