Shares of industrial and transportation companies fell sharply amid signs of slowing economic growth.

The import price index dropped 0.4% last month, a much sharper retreat than economists had anticipated.

The University of Michigan consumer sentiment survey indicated that consumers were balking at bigger-ticket items, a finding that was backed up by a warning from furniture seller RH and reports that airlines are slashing prices on fares.

"Given the improved inflation dynamics we observed this week and the expectations that consumer spending could slow, especially on items like furniture and vehicles, the Fed should find themselves in a fortunate spot to ease interest rates later this year before something breaks in the economy," said Jeffrey Roach, chief economist at brokerage LPL Financial.

Write to Rob Curran at

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

06-14-24 1726ET