U.S. stocks fell as euro-region governments braced for possible credit downgrades by S&P and as JPMorgan Chase & Co.’s profit slumped 23 percent.
Stocks tumbled as a European government official said France is among several euro-area countries facing downgrades by S&P in the review, which is due at 20:00 GMT. Germany, Europe’s biggest economy, will retain its AAA rating in a review of euro-area countries’ credit grades by S&P, the official said on condition of anonymity because the announcement has yet to be made.
Concern about potential downgrades overshadowed data showing that confidence among U.S. consumers rose more than forecast in January to the highest level in eight months, a sign household spending may hold up early this year. Separate figures showed that the U.S. trade deficit widened more than forecast in November as American exports declined and companies stepped up imports of crude oil and automobiles.
All groups in the S&P 500 declined as financial, industrial and commodity gauges slid at least 1%. JPMorgan, the largest U.S. bank by assets, fell 3.8%. Bank of America Corp. (BAC), Morgan Stanley and Citigroup Inc. retreated at least 2.%.