NEW YORK - Wall Street's major stock indexes fell on Wednesday, with the S&P 500 dropping for the fifth session in a row, as financials were hit by fears that regulations on the banking industry would tighten once the Democratic Party takes control of the U.S. House of Representatives.
Financial stocks fell after Democrat Maxine Waters, who is expected to become chair of the House banking committee, said banking regulations would not be eased any further on her watch, according to a CNBC report.
The financial sector <.SPSY> dropped 1.2 percent and was the biggest drag on the S&P 500. The S&P 500 Banks index <.SPXBK> fell 1.6 percent.
Meanwhile, technology stocks added to their recent losses as shares of Apple Inc <AAPL.O> descended for a fifth consecutive day on mounting concerns that iPhone sales have hit a wall. At their session low, Apple shares were down more than 20 percent from their record high.
Apple's 2.1 percent drop helped drag the S&P 500 technology index <.SPLRCT> down 0.5 percent.
The market had started on a buoyant note as oil prices rebounded and data showed consumer prices rose only as much as expected last month, easing fears of overheating inflation and faster interest rate hikes.
But sentiment turned lower as the session wore on, with investors citing ongoing concerns about a slowdown in global economic growth prospects as reason to remain cautious.
"A cocktail of uncertainty regarding global growth as well as trade-related issues has put market speculators on their heels," said Chad Morganlander, senior portfolio manager at Washington Crossing Advisors in Florham Park, New Jersey.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average <.DJI> fell 88.05 points, or 0.35 percent, to 25,198.44, the S&P 500 <.SPX> lost 7.23 points, or 0.27 percent, to 2,714.95 and the Nasdaq Composite <.IXIC> dropped 18.04 points, or 0.25 percent, to 7,182.83.
PG&E Corp <PCG.N> slumped 22.7 percent after the utility warned it could face "significant liability" in excess of its insurance coverage if its equipment was found to have caused the blaze raging in Northern California.
Declining issues outnumbered advancing ones on the NYSE by a 1.29-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 1.57-to-1 ratio favoured decliners.
The S&P 500 posted 12 new 52-week highs and 17 new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 16 new highs and 181 new lows.