US STOCKS-Wall Street drops as investors eye inflation and coronavirus

The S&P 500 and the Nasdaq tumbled on Tuesday after data showed producer prices increased more than expected in November, solidifying expectations the Federal Reserve this week will announce a faster wind-down of asset purchases.

The fast-spreading Omicron coronavirus variant also dampened investor sentiment after the S&P 500 index hit an all-time closing high late last week. Declines were led by megacap tech-related stocks, with Meta Platforms, Microsoft Corp, Tesla Inc, Alphabet Inc and Inc falling between 1% and 4%.

Apple Inc was down 1.2% after the iPhone maker said it would require customers and employees to wear masks at its U.S. retail stores as COVID-19 cases surge.

Data from the Labor Department showed the producer price index (PPI) for final demand in the 12 months through November shot up 9.6%, clocking its largest gain since November 2010 and followed an 8.8% increase in October.

About two thirds of Nasdaq stocks were trading below their 200-day moving average, according to Refinitiv data, suggesting many stocks within the index are struggling, even as the overall index remains only about 6% below its November record high close.