Stocks faded into the close on Thursday, the final trading day of the week in the U.S.
The Dow lost 138 points, or 0.7%, the SP 500 lost 16 points, or 0.7%, and the Nasdaq lost 31 points, or 0.5%. Investors on Thursday seemed largely focused on geopolitical headlines, with the main news being that the U.S. dropped the “mother of all bombs” on an Islamic State tunnel complex in Afghanistan.
President Donald Trump called it a “very, very successful mission.”
U.S. stock and bond markets will be closed on Friday in observation of the Good Friday holiday. Many bourses overseas will be closed as well. Foreign exchange markets, however, will be open as usual in what is likely to be thin trading.
Thursday saw the unofficial beginning of first quarter earnings season, with big U.S. banks including JPMorgan (JPM), Wells Fargo (WFC), and Citi (C) all reporting results. Shares of each firm fell on Thursday along with the broader market.
Wells Fargo shares fell more than 3% on Thursday, as the bank saw revenues miss expectations while reporting that both checking account opens and consumer credit card applications were down more than 30% from the same month last year in March.
The bank also announced it closed 39 bank branches in the first quarter — it now has 141 to go this year.
JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon said alongside first quarter results that, “U.S. consumers and businesses are healthy overall and with pro-growth initiatives and improving collaboration between government and business, the U.S. economy can continue to improve.”
These comments run somewhat counter to what Dimon said last week in his annual letter to shareholders about the state of the economy.
Meanwhile, Citi CEO Michael Corbat said that when it comes to Trump’s more stimulative economic proposals — such as infrastructure spending and tax cuts — it’s not a matter of if, but when these changes take place.
Corbat’s comments come during a week the administration’s signature economic programs were scarcely mentioned.
Elsewhere in economic news on Thursday, we learned that consumer confidence remains high and is notably improving among Democrats, who had been so downbeat on their view of the economy it indicated a deep recession was imminent.
U.S. consumers still remain deeply divided, which is likely to keep any big bump in spending due to confidence boosts lumpy at best, but this normalization in economic views among opposing political views represents a step forward for any potential economic growth that results from more confident consumers. Consumer spending, we’d note, accounts for about 70% of GDP.
Myles Udland is a writer at Yahoo Finance. Follow him on Twitter @MylesUdland
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