By Amruta Khandekar and Shubham Batra

March 15 (Reuters) – U.S. stocks fell on Wednesday as turmoil at Credit Suisse rekindled fears of a banking crisis, while data indicating economic weakness buoyed hopes for a less aggressive monetary policy. the Federal Reserve’s share in March.

* U.S.-listed shares of Credit Suisse fell 24.3% to a record high, after the Swiss bank’s biggest investor said it could no longer provide financial assistance to the lender.

* Fueling hopes for less monetary policy stance from the Fed, data showed retail sales fell 0.4% last month, from growth of 3.2% in January, while that economists polled by Reuters had expected a contraction of 0.3%.

* A separate report showed that US producer prices fell unexpectedly in February and that January’s price rise was not as large as initially thought, offering encouraging signs in the fight against inflation.

* The data comes at a time when the bankruptcy of SVB Financial and its counterpart Signature Bank had already stoked fears about the health of other banks, stoking hopes the Fed would avoid big rate hikes in its next meeting to ensure financial stability.

* Traders now see the same odds for a 25 basis point rate hike and pause at the Federal Reserve’s March meeting.

* First Republic Bank plunged 13.1% and peers Western Alliance Bancorp and PacWest Bancorp lost 7.1% and 18.4% respectively, before their shares were halted by volatility.

* Major US banks such as JPMorgan Chase & Co, Citigroup and Bank of America Corp lost between 5% and 1%. The KBW regional banking index fell 3.8%, while the S&P 500 banking index fell 4.2%.

* The Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 417.25 points, or 1.30%, at 31,738.15, while the S&P 500 was down 48.11 points, or 1.23%, at 3,871 ,18. The Nasdaq Composite fell 104.12 points, or 0.91%, to 11,324.03.

(Reporting by Amruta Khandekar and Shubham Batra in Bengaluru; Additional reporting by Shristi Achar; Editing in Spanish by Manuel Farías)

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