By DAMIAN J. TROIS
NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks fell Thursday morning on Wall Street as investors struggled to find direction for the markets amid consistently choppy trading.
The S&P 500 fell 0.3% at 10:21 a.m. Eastern. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 94 points, or 0.3%, to 32,816 and the Nasdaq fell 0.2%.
Banks and healthcare companies fell overall. Capital One lost 1.7% and Eli Lilly fell 1.1%.
Retailers and consumer goods manufacturers mostly gained ground. Dollar General rose 1.3% and Costco 2.1%.
Bond yields rose slightly. The 10-year Treasury yield rose to 3.04% from 3.02% on Wednesday night.
The main indexes oscillate between gains and losses, sometimes from hour to hour. Despite the volatility, they are mostly unchanged for the week. Overall, the market is still in a deep slump. The benchmark S&P 500 index has fallen in eight of the past nine weeks.
Rising inflation and attempts by central banks to mitigate the impact with interest rate hikes remain Wall Street’s top concerns.
European markets were posting steeper declines after the European Central Bank said it would start raising interest rates next month for the first time in more than a decade. This would cause European policymakers to align themselves with other central banks like the US Federal Reserve in moving away from supporting the economy with low interest rates and fighting inflation with higher rates. higher interest.
The Fed is widely expected to raise its main short-term interest rate by half a percentage point at its meeting next week. It would be the second consecutive increase of double the usual amount, and investors are expecting a third in July.
Central bank interest rate hikes are an attempt to slow economic growth enough to temper inflation, particularly by easing pressure on the persistent supply-demand disconnect at the root of the problem.
Wall Street fears the Fed is going too far too fast in raising rates and pushing the economy into a recession, especially as economic growth is already slowing.
Businesses have had to raise prices for everything from food to clothing, and many, including Target, have warned of falling demand. Consumers are seeing inflation take a bigger chunk of their wallets and have shifted their spending to focus more on necessities or services, like travel, rather than buying discretionary items like electronics or clothes.
Rising gasoline prices have put greater pressure on consumers and businesses, raising concerns that inflation may persist. U.S. crude oil prices were relatively flat on Thursday but have risen more than 60% this year, much of the jump stemming from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Lockdowns in major Chinese cities due to COVID-19 have added even more pressure on global supply chains, although some of the impact may be easing. China reported that its exports jumped 17% year on year earlier in May, from 3.7% in April, as coronavirus precautions were eased in Shanghai and other cities. Imports rose 4%, accelerating from 0.7% growth the previous month.