Business

US stock markets drift lower

NYSE traders Image copyright Reuters

US stock markets drifted lower in early trade despite gains for banking stocks.

The Dow Jones opened higher, but then fell back to stand 25.84 points lower at 20,932.06.

The broader S&P 500 index dropped 1.76 points to 2,386.37, while the Nasdaq index fell 4.44 points to 6,068.11.

Bank shares rose following Wednesday's Fed statement, which expressed confidence in the economy and led to an increase in expectations that it will raise interest rates in June.

Higher rates are seen as beneficial to banks' profits. Shares in Goldman Sachs rose 0.5% while JP Morgan Chase added 0.3%.

Shares in Facebook fell 1.8% despite the social network giant reporting a huge increase in quarterly profits.

Dunkin' Brands saw its shares fall 1.4% after it said reported flat sales at its Dunkin' Donuts stores in the US.

The company, which also owns the Baskin-Robbins ice cream chain, said first-quarter revenues rose slightly to $190.7m, but that fell short of analysts' forecasts.