Quiet day of trading sees stocks head down
Banks fall, but most sectors stay put as big political events loom.
After an early-afternoon slump, U.S. stocks finished mostly lower Monday in a quiet day of trading. Banks fell along with bond yields as stocks declined for a third straight day.
Lower bond yields hurt banks because they force interest rates down on mortgages and other kinds of loans. Utility companies gave up some of their recent gains.
Most sectors didn’t move much on the lightest trading day of the year. European markets mostly fell after the British government said it will formally begin the process of leaving the European Union next week.
Sameer Samana, a strategist for the Wells Fargo Investment Institute, said politics may keep investors occupied for the next few weeks as they wait for elections in France and a European Central Bank meeting, both next month, while legislators in the U.S. debate the proposed Republican-backed health care law.
“There’s enough events that will keep markets busy,” Samana said. He added that investors want to see tax reform proposals because they could boost corporate profits, but those aren’t likely to come until the health care bill is dealt with.
The Standard & Poor’s 500