Stocks closed lower on Wall Street as traders return from a long holiday weekend
Major stock indexes on Wall Street closed lower Tuesday, giving back some of their recent gains as traders returned from a long holiday weekend.
The S&P 500 fell 0.4%, while the Nasdaq composite slipped 0.1%. Both indexes were coming off their second weekly gain. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 0.6%.
The selling was widespread, with decliners outnumbering advancers by more than 3 to 1 on the New York Stock Exchange.
Losses in industrial, health care and financial stocks were the biggest drag on the benchmark S&P 500. Cintas fell 1.7%, Merck & Co. dropped 2.1% and JPMorgan Chase closed 1.1% lower.
Technology stocks were the biggest bright spot. Microsoft rose 1.5%.
Energy stocks rose along with crude oil prices after Saudi Arabia and Russia said they will extend their voluntary production cut of 1 million barrels of oil a day through the end of the year. U.S. crude oil prices rose 1.3% and Chevron rose 1.3%.
Smaller company stocks also lost ground, sending the Russell 2000 index 2.1% lower.
The yield on the 10-year Treasury, which influences interest rates on mortgages and other loans, rose to 4.27% from 4.18% late Friday. The yield on the 2-year Treasury, which tracks expectations for the Fed, rose to 4.96% from 4.88%.
Coming off the Labor Day holiday, investors have few economic reports to look forward to this week, while the latest round of corporate earnings is essentially finished.
“There’s not much going on other than investors doing the mental arithmetic over whether the Federal Reserve will or will not continue to hike interest rates,” said Sam Stovall, chief investment strategist at CFRA.
The Institute for Supply Management releases its latest report on the U.S. services sector Wednesday. The services sector employs most Americans and is a big component of the economy. Its health could provide more insight into how inflation is affecting consumer spending.
Wall Street will also get updates on aspects of the manufacturing sector and consumer credit. DocuSign, GameStop, Dave & Buster’s and Kroger are set to report their most recent quarterly financial results this week.
Last week, investors were busy reviewing a heavy load of economic data as they try to get a better picture of the economy. Much of the information fueled hopes that the Fed might moderate interest rate increases to fight inflation, which has been easing for months.
Wall Street expects the Fed to hold its benchmark interest rate steady at its next meeting later in September, just as it did at its previous meeting. Investors are mostly betting that the central bank will maintain that pause through the rest of the year.
The central bank has raised its main interest rate aggressively since 2022 to the highest level since 2001. The goal has been to rein inflation back to the Fed’s target of 2%. Several measures of inflation have gotten closer to that target and the economy is still growing. That has alleviated concerns about the aggressive rate hikes pushing the economy into a recession.
Analysts are still concerned about the potential for a recession, but those concerns have lessened as inflation cools and the economy remains resilient.
All told, the S&P 500 fell 18.94 points to 4,496.83 Tuesday. The Dow dropped 195.74 points to 34,641.97, and the Nasdaq slipped 10.86 points to 14,020.95. The Russell 2000 slid 40.38 points to 1,880.45.
Markets in Europe and Asia closed mixed. Hong Kong’s benchmark fell 2.1%, as investors sold real estate shares which have gained recently following government efforts to support the ailing industry.