Sunday May 28th, 2023 6:40PM

Stocks waver on Wall Street ahead of speech by Fed chair

By The Associated Press

Stocks wavered in afternoon trading on Wall Street Wednesday ahead of a speech by Jerome Powell, the chair of the Federal Reserve, on the outlook for the economy and inflation.

The S&P 500 fell 0.2% as of 1:23 p.m. Eastern, on pace for its fourth straight drop. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 159 points, or 0.5%, to 33,692 and the Nasdaq rose 0.3%.

Major indexes have been unsteady as the economy and financial markets deal with stubbornly hot inflation and the Fed's attempt to cool high prices with aggressive interest rate increases. Still, the benchmark S&P 500 and the Dow are solidly on track to close out November in the green, which would mark their second straight monthly gain.

Treasury yields gained ground. The yield on the 10-year Treasury, which influences mortgage rates, rose to 3.77% from 3.75% late Tuesday.

U.S. crude oil prices climbed 2.6%.

Banks and industrial companies fell, weighing down the broader market. Bank of America slipped 1.1% and 3M slid 3.1%.

Those losses offset gains in technology and communication stocks. Intuit rose 4.8% and Netflix gained 3.5%.

Markets in Asia and Europe were mostly higher.

Investors will be closely watching a speech Wednesday afternoon by Powell at the Brookings Institution for clues as to what the central bank will do next in its fight against inflation. The central bank has raised its benchmark rate to 3.75% to 4%, up from close to zero in March.

The goal is to make borrowing more difficult and generally slow the economy in order to tame inflation. There's a risk the Fed could slow the economy too much and send it into a recession.

The economy has been slowing, but contains strong pockets that have given markets hope that a recession could be avoided. The government on Wednesday said the economy grew at a 2.9% annual rate from July through September, an upgrade from its initial estimate.

Consumers have continued spending, despite of inflation squeezing wallets, and the overall employment market remains strong.

There is hope on Wall Street that the Fed will slow the scale and pace of its interest rate hikes. The central bank has been very clear about its intent to raise interest rates until it is sure inflation is cooling.

The employment market remains a big focus for the Fed and investors. It's strength has helped the broader economy, but makes it more difficult to cool inflation.

“If we can get a weaker labor market, we'll probably get weaker wage pressure,” said Scott Ladner, chief investment officer at Horizon Investments. “That’s sort of the last shoe to drop with inflation.”

Economic data on Wednesday showed signs of a softening labor market, though it remains relatively strong historically. The U.S. government reported that job openings dropped in October more than economists had anticipated. Human resources company ADP reported an easing in private sector employment growth in November.

Investors will get more data Thursday on the employment sector with a report on weekly unemployment claims. The closely watched monthly report on the job market will be released on Friday.


Yuri Kageyama and Matt Ott contributed to this report.

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP National News, AP Online National News, Top General short headlines, AP Business, AP Business - Economy, AP Business - Financial Markets, AP Business - Industries, AP Business - Financial Services, AP Business - Utilities
© Copyright 2023
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
'Necessary evil': France refires coal plant amid energy woes
France has restarted a shuttered coal plant as part of emergency efforts to keep heat and electricity on this winter
9:39AM ( 13 minutes ago )
Dallas Habitat for Humanity helps staff purchase homes
The Dallas Area Habitat for Humanity is using part of the $9 million gift it received from philanthropist MacKenzie Scott in March to provide its staff members a new employee benefit — $13,500 in the form of a forgivable loan to help with a down payment or closing costs on a home
9:38AM ( 14 minutes ago )
Taliban: 10 killed in bombing of Afghan religious school
A Taliban official says that at least 10 students were killed when a bomb blast hit a religious school in northern Afghanistan
9:20AM ( 31 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Rolling Stones to release star-stuffed 2012 live recording
The Rolling Stones plan to release what they’re calling their “ultimate live greatest hits album” with appearances by Lady Gaga, Bruce Springsteen, Gary Clark Jr. and The Black Keys
8:54AM ( 57 minutes ago )
Hawaii volcano eruption has some on alert, draws onlookers
Despite assurances that lava from Hawaii's Mauna Loa isn't threatening communities, some residents are remaining vigilant
8:50AM ( 1 hour ago )
Wall Street is flat ahead of appearance by Fed chair
U.S. markets were flat to modestly higher ahead of a closely watched speech by the Federal Reserve chief that may give clues about future interest rate hikes
8:45AM ( 1 hour ago )
AP National News
Storms cause major tornadoes, flooding around the South
Residents in several towns across Louisiana and Mississippi have taken cover amid the blare of tornado sirens amid a severe weather outbreak erupting in the Deep South
4:22AM ( 5 hours ago )
Chinese spaceship with 3 aboard docks with space station
Three Chinese astronauts have docked with their country's space station where they will overlap for several days with the three-member crew already onboard and expand the facility to its maximum size
12:35AM ( 9 hours ago )
Congress prepares to take up bill preventing rail strike
Congress is moving swiftly to prevent a looming U.S. rail workers strike
12:07AM ( 9 hours ago )
AP Online National News
Wall Street is flat ahead of appearance by Fed chair in NYC
U.S. markets were flat to modestly higher ahead of a closely watched speech by the Federal Reserve chief that may give clues about future interest rate hikes
8:06AM ( 1 hour ago )
EU Commission proposes blocking billions in funds to Hungary
The European Union’s executive branch has recommended that billions of euros in EU funds be withheld from Hungary over its failure to implement solid rule-of-law reforms, a move highlighting lingering divergences between the European partners
7:57AM ( 1 hour ago )
Raimondo: US isn't seeking to sever economic ties with China
The United States isn’t seeking to sever economic ties with China — even as it takes steps to protect America’s technological and military prowess from Beijing
7:07AM ( 2 hours ago )
AP Business
Inflation eases in Europe, but still in double digits
Inflation in the 19 countries that use the euro currency eased to 10% this month as fuel and utilities drifted down from painful highs
5:11AM ( 4 hours ago )
Global shares mostly higher ahead of Fed chair's key speech
Global shares are mostly higher ahead of a closely watched speech by the Federal Reserve chief that may give clues about future interest rate hikes
3:37AM ( 6 hours ago )
Asian shares mostly higher ahead of Fed chair's key speech
Asian shares are mostly higher ahead of a closely watched speech by the Federal Reserve chief that may give clues about future interest rate hikes
1:55AM ( 7 hours ago )
AP Business - Economy
Mine opponents to ask Minnesota Supreme Court to void permit
The Minnesota Supreme Court hears oral arguments Wednesday on an attempt by environmental groups to cancel a key permit for the long-stalled PolyMet copper-nickel mine
4:56PM ( 16 hours ago )
US stocks edge higher in unsteady trading, oil prices rise
Stocks edged mostly higher in unsteady trading on Wall Street as some concerns dissipate over protests in China against that country’s severe COVID restrictions
10:35AM ( 23 hours ago )
Wall Street is off to a wobbly start; crude oil prices rise
Stocks are off to a wobbly start on Wall Street and as some concerns dissipate over the protests in China against that country's severe COVID restrictions
9:49AM ( 1 day ago )
AP Business - Financial Markets
Gas driller pleads no contest to polluting town's water
Pennsylvania’s most active gas driller has pleaded no contest to criminal environmental charges in a landmark pollution case
7:39PM ( 14 hours ago )
Bribery trial tests US cases against Venezuela kleptocrats
A former Venezuelan treasurer and nurse to the late Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez is contesting criminal charges in the U.S. Claudia Diaz is charged with money laundering, accused of taking at least $4.2 million in bribes and gifts in exchange for green lighting lucrative currency transactions
4:58PM ( 16 hours ago )
NATO renews membership vow to Ukraine, pledges arms and aid
NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg says war-torn Ukraine will one day become a member of the world’s largest security alliance
3:45PM ( 18 hours ago )
AP Business - Industries
AP Interview: IMF chief urges targeted COVID policy in China
The head of the International Monetary Fund says it’s time for China to move away from mass lockdowns under its “zero-COVID” approach
7:36AM ( 1 day ago )
2 Fed officials favor keeping key rate at peak through 2023
Two Federal Reserve officials said they favor raising the Fed’s key rate to roughly 5% or more and keeping it at its peak through next year — longer than many on Wall Street have expected
4:17PM ( 1 day ago )
Asian shares fall as China protests, lockdowns cloud outlook
Shares have skidded in Asia, with Hong Kong dipping as much as 4% following weekend protests in various cities over China's strict zero-COVID lockdowns
11:56PM ( 2 days ago )
AP Business - Financial Services
Stowaways found on a ship's rudder in Spain's Canary Islands
Spain’s Maritime Rescue Service says it has rescued three stowaways traveling on a ship’s rudder in the Canary Islands after the vessel sailed there from Nigeria
6:55AM ( 1 day ago )
Ukraine's 'Invincibility' centers offer refuge, resilience
Ukraine has rolled out hundreds of “Points of Invincibility” — a defiant name for makeshift centers often no larger than an executive's conference room where beleaguered citizens can warm up, charge up, feed and drink up, and entertain themselves as they hunker down to wait out Russian President Vladimir Putin's war on their country
3:42AM ( 1 day ago )
NATO ministers meet to drum up more aid, arms for Ukraine
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and his NATO counterparts are gathering in Romania to drum up urgently needed support for Ukraine, including deliveries of electrical components for the war-torn country's devastated power transmission network
3:02AM ( 1 day ago )
AP Business - Utilities
Taliban: 10 killed in bombing of Afghan religious school
A Taliban official says that at least 10 students were killed when a bomb blast hit a religious school in northern Afghanistan
9:20AM ( 32 minutes ago )
Russian, Chinese bombers fly joint patrols over Pacific
Russian and Chinese strategic bombers have flown a joint patrol over the western Pacific in a show of increasingly close defense ties between the two countries
9:18AM ( 34 minutes ago )
Landmark same-sex marriage bill wins Senate passage
The Senate has passed landmark  bipartisan legislation to protect same-sex marriages
9:15AM ( 37 minutes ago )
Tornado threat continues as southern towns assess damage
Early reports of tornado damage overnight in Mississippi and Alabama suggest twisters wrecked numerous homes, destroyed a fire station and ripped the roof off an apartment complex
9:04AM ( 48 minutes ago )
UK royals traveling to Boston with eye on environment prize
The Prince and Princess of Wales are making their first overseas trip since the death of Queen Elizabeth II in September
9:02AM ( 50 minutes ago )