U.S. stocks fall as investors assess Fed's policy path

NEW YORK, Aug. 19 (Xinhua) -- U.S. stocks dropped on Friday, weighed by weakness in the consumer discretionary and the financials sectors.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 292.30 points, or 0.86 percent, to 33,706.74. The S&P 500 was down 55.26 points, or 1.29 percent, to 4,228.48. The Nasdaq Composite Index decreased 260.13 points, or 2.01 percent, to 12,705.21.

Nine of the 11 primary S&P 500 sectors ended in red, with consumer discretionary and financials down 2.1 percent and 2.02 percent, respectively, leading the laggards. The health care and the energy groups, however, eked out modest gains.

The above moves came as Wall Street weighed the U.S. Federal Reserve's policy path forward.

Richmond Fed President Thomas Barkin said Friday that the central bank would do what it takes to return inflation back to its target, even if that means risking a recession.

Minutes of the Fed's July meeting released Wednesday showed that the central bank would continue its rate hiking campaign to tame decades-high inflation, while signaling caution with the pace of coming increases.

For the week, the Dow slipped 0.2 percent, while the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq fell 1.2 percent and 2.6 percent, respectively.

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