Wall Street posts modest loss after Fed minutes

  • Minutes: ‘Almost all’ Fed officials agreed to skip June hike
  • Chip stocks slide on China’s export curbs
  • US May factory orders miss expectations
  • Indexes down: Dow 0.38%, S&P 500 0.2%, Nasdaq 0.18%

July 5 (Reuters) – Wall Street’s main indexes ended with modest declines on Wednesday as investors digested minutes from the U.S. Federal Reserve’s latest meeting and braced for significant economic data in the days to come.

Minutes showed a united Fed agreed to hold interest rates steady at the June meeting as a way to buy time and assess whether further rate hikes would be needed.

Following the release of the anticipated minutes, investors still largely expected the central bank to raise rates at its next meeting later this month. Key economic data is due before the meeting, including the monthly U.S. jobs report on Friday.

“The markets are in a wait-and-see for the economic data,” said Paul Nolte, senior wealth advisor and market strategist at Murphy & Sylvest Wealth Management. “Since the Fed is data dependent, so is the market.”

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (.DJI) fell 129.83 points, or 0.38%, to 34,288.64, the S&P 500 (.SPX) lost 8.77 points, or 0.20%, to 4,446.82 and the Nasdaq Composite (.IXIC) dropped 25.12 points, or 0.18%, to 13,791.65.

Materials (.SPLRCM) fell most among S&P 500 sectors, shedding 2.5%.

In data out on Wednesday, new orders for U.S.-made goods increased less than expected in May, fanning fears of an economic slowdown. Meanwhile, China’s services activity expanded at the slowest pace in five months in June, according to a private-sector survey.

Chip stocks fell after China said it would control exports of some metals widely used in the semiconductor industry as tensions between Beijing and Washington rise over access to high-tech microchips.

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York City, U.S., June 29, 2023. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

The Philadelphia SE Semiconductor Index (.SOX) dropped 2.2%, while Intel (INTC.O) shares sank 3.3% and Texas Instruments (TXN.O) declined 1.8%.

Shares of Meta Platforms (META.O) rose 2.9% ahead of the expected release of the company’s Twitter-rival app, Threads, on Thursday.

Megacap stocks such as Meta have led the gains so far this year for major equity indexes, including the biggest first-half increase for the Nasdaq Composite in 40 years.

“We could see the largest stocks pull back, but the average stock catch up,” said Jack Ablin, chief investment officer at Cresset Capital. “We are looking for somewhat of a convergence.”

Shares of United Parcel Service (UPS.N) fell 2.1% after the Teamsters Union said UPS “walked away” from negotiations over a new contract, a claim the shipping giant denied.

Declining issues outnumbered advancing ones on the NYSE by a 2.29-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 1.84-to-1 ratio favored decliners.

The S&P 500 posted 18 new 52-week highs and one new low; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 55 new highs and 65 new lows.

About 10.3 billion shares changed hands in U.S. exchanges, compared with the 11.1 billion daily average over the last 20 sessions.

Reporting by Lewis Krauskopf and Sinead Carew in New York, Bansari Mayur Kamdar and Johann M Cherian in Bengaluru; Editing by Marguerita Choy and Vinay Dwivedi

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

Bansari Mayur Kamdar

Thomson Reuters

Bansari reports on the global financial markets and writes Reuters’ daily flagship market reports on equities, bonds and currencies. An economist by training and winner of the Arthur MacEwan Award for Excellence in Political Economy, she has written for renowned global papers and magazines including The Diplomat, Boston Globe, Conversation, Huffington Post and more.

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