U.S. stock benchmarks turned lower in choppy trade Wednesday, as investors reassessed potential progress between Russia and Ukraine negotiators and heard more hawkish tones from the Federal Reserve.
How are stock indexes trading?
The Dow Jones Industrial Average
was off 78 points, or 0.2%, at 35,214
The S&P 500
shed 24 points, or 0.5% at 4,607
The Nasdaq Composite
traded 99 points lower, or 0.7% at 14,521
On Tuesday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average
rose 338.30 points, or 1%, to close at 35,294.19, rising for a fourth straight day. The S&P 500
gained 1.2% to finish at 4,631.60, exiting correction territory and marking its fourth straight gain, according to Dow Jones Market Data. The Nasdaq Composite
climbed 1.8% to end at 14,619.64, its second consecutive day of gains.
What’s driving markets?
Stocks slipped while oil prices edged higher Wednesday as Russian forces shelled areas around Kyiv and another Ukrainian city overnight, just hours after it pledged to “fundamentally” cut back operations in the areas, Associated Press reported.
“We do expect a little profit-taking after four days of gains but big picture-wise, we continue to expect volatility,” Greg Bassuk, chief executive at AXS Investments, said in a phone interview.
In addition to developments in the Russia-Ukraine war, investors also heard from Kansas City Federal Reserve President Esther George, who said the central bank must move expeditiously away from an easy policy stance. That should include a significant reduction of the Fed’s near $9 trillion balance sheet, she said.
“We essentially have an economy that is operating still under very significant stimulus and very low rates compared with historical averages,” said Matt Peden, senior portfolio manager of the Invesco Global Select Equity Strategies, in a phone call.
“That leads to a lot of uncertainty as to the true underlying state of the economy.”
To that end, Peden’s focus is long-term and on stocks that can manage revenue growth despite higher rates, elevated inflation and the threat of an economic slowdown, such as the technology and payment sectors, rather than shorter term plays in commodity and financial companies that have seen gains in recent months.
In U.S. economic data, U.S. fourth-quarter gross domestic product growth was revised to an annualized 6.9% from 7%. Meanwhile, ADP said the private sector added 455,000 jobs in March. Economists surveyed by Dow Jones Newswires and The Wall Street Journal forecast a private-sector payrolls gain of 450,000.
On the COVID-front, the omicron subvariant known as BA.2, which is even more contagious than the original omicron but seems no more lethal, accounted for more than half of new COVID cases in the U.S., according to estimates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Tuesday.
Investors are also keeping watch on the bond market after the yield on the 2-year Treasury note
traded briefly above the yield on the 10-year note
Tuesday afternoon, temporarily inverting the yield curve.
The phenomenon is widely viewed as an early warning signal of a potential economic downturn, though some analysts caution that it serves as a poor market timing tool. Yields were easing across the board on Wednesday.
“We think investors aren’t so sure that these inverted yield curves really will lead to a recession,” due to “the other, more positive indicators,” according to AXS’s Bassuk.
Which companies are in focus?
Lululemon Athletica Inc.
shares jumped 10.8% Tuesday, after it topped $6 billion in sales for the first time in 2021, and executives expect it to hit $7.5 billion this year. Lululemon reported fourth-quarter profit of $434.5 million, or $3.36 a share, on sales of $2.13 billion, up from $1.73 billion in the same period a year ago.
Shares of Adagio Therapeutics Inc.
shares surged 38% after the company said primary endpoints were met for three indications in its continuing global Phase 2/3 clinical trials evaluating its investigational drug adintrevimab ADG20 for treating Covid-19.
How did other assets fare?
The yield on the 10-year Treasury note
went down 3 basis points to 2.37%. Yields and debt prices move opposite each other.
The ICE U.S. Dollar Index
a measure of the currency against a basket of six major rivals, fell 0.5%.
Gold futures closed up, with the June contract
gaining 1.1% to settle at $1,939 an ounce.
was up about 0.1% at $47,975.
—Barbara Kollmeyer contributed reporting to this article.