NEW YORK, Feb 15 (Reuters) - The S&P 500 gave up earlier losses on Wednesday while the dollar was rising along with U.S. Treasury yields after data showed U.S. retail sales in January increased by the most in nearly two years, prompting concerns about continued interest rate hikes.
After two straight monthly declines, the Commerce Department said retail sales surged 3.0% last month, in the largest increase since March 2021, after declining by an unrevised 1.1% in December.
Paired with Tuesday's data, which showed a monthly inflation pick-up in January, evidence of an increase in consumer spending fueled worries the Fed would need to keep increasing rates for longer than some investors had hoped to tame inflation.
"It's all about the Fed. As figures like retail sales come out quite strong, this is more food for the Fed to keep raising rates, maybe at reduced pace, but, at the very least, to keep them higher for longer," said Bruce Zaro, managing director at Granite Wealth Management.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 79.56 points, or 0.23%, to 34,009.71, the S&P 500 lost 2.26 points, or 0.05%, to 4,133.87 and the Nasdaq Composite added...