NEW YORK: Wall Street stocks finished lower on Tuesday (March 28), shrugging off solid consumer confidence data as US Treasury bond yields climbed.

The Conference Board’s closely watched consumer confidence index increased unexpectedly in March, although it remains below last year’s average.

“While consumers feel a bit more confident about what’s ahead, they are slightly less optimistic about the current landscape,” said Ataman Ozyildirim, senior director for economics at The Conference Board.

Meanwhile, the yield on the 10-year US Treasury note, a proxy for Federal Reserve monetary policy, advanced, pressuring tech shares that are seen as more reliant on debt.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 37.83 points, or 0.12%, to 32,394.25, the S&P 500 lost 6.26 points, or 0.16%, to 3,971.27 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 52.76 points, or 0.45%, to 11,716.08.

Equities have seen intermittent pressure in recent weeks after the failure of Silicon Valley Bank and two other mid-sized US banks fuelled worries about contagion.

Regional banks, which had rallied on Monday, mostly fell on Tuesday, KeyCorp down 0.8%, First Republic off 2.5% and PacWest Bancorp shedding 5%.

Michael Barr, the Federal Reserve’s top banking regulator, told a Senate panel that Silicon Valley Bank did a “terrible” job of managing risk before its collapse.

Among other individual companies, Alibaba shot up 14.3% after announcing it will split into six business groups. The Hangzhou-based firm has business operations spanning cloud computing, e-commerce, logistics, media and entertainment, and artificial intelligence.

Shares of Apple and Microsoft along with other technology-related shares ended down and were among the biggest drags on the S&P 500.

“It’s a little bit of a follow-through from yesterday’s (Monday) pullback in tech stocks. You’re seeing a little bit of profit-taking,” said Michael James, managing director of equity trading at Wedbush Securities in Los Angeles. “Some of the enthusiasm is waning a little bit.” – AFP, Reuters