U.S. stocks fell for the first time in five days as a rally in financial companies was snuffed out by concern over rising credit-card defaults, while SanDisk Corp. led a slump in technology shares. Treasuries dropped and the dollar weakened against the euro, while copper and oil advanced.
American Express Co. decreased 3.3 percent, erasing an 8.1 percent gain, after reporting higher delinquency rates for February. SanDisk, the biggest maker of flash memory cards, tumbled 11 percent as Bank of America Corp. advised selling the shares. Stocks rallied earlier after the Group of 20 vowed to clean up toxic assets, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke said the recession may end this year and U.K. bank Barclays Plc reported a “strong” start to 2009.
The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index slipped 0.4 percent to 753.89, erasing a gain of as much as 2.4 percent. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 7.01 points, or 0.1 percent, to 7,216.97. The S&P 500 had jumped 12 percent in the previous four sessions on speculation the worst of the credit crisis was over.
The S&P 500 has declined 17 percent in 2009, rising in only two of 10 weeks this year, as mounting losses at banks raised concern the government would be forced to nationalize some lenders. The index lost 38 percent in 2008, its worst year since the Great Depression.