Stocks flat ahead of Beige Book

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - BUSINESS & FARM - MAR­KET RE­PORT ALEX VEIGA

An­other day of list­less trad­ing on Wall Street ended Tues­day with the ma­jor stock in­dexes mostly flat.

The Stan­dard & Poor’s 500 in­dex fell 1.90 points, or 0.1 per­cent, to 2,425.53. The Dow Jones in­dus­trial av­er­age gained 0.55 points to 21,409.07. The Nas­daq com­pos­ite rose 16.91 points, or 0.3 per­cent, to 6,193.30. The Rus­sell 2000 in­dex of smaller- com­pany stocks added 4.58 points, or 0.3 per­cent, to 1,413.05.

Nine of the 11 in­dus­try groups in the S&P’s 500 in­dex de­clined. More stocks rose than fell on the New York Stock Ex­change.

Bond prices rose. The yield on the 10-year Trea­sury note fell to 2.36 per­cent from 2.38 per­cent late Mon­day.

Gains in en­ergy and tech­nol­ogy com­pa­nies were can­celed out by losses among banks, phone com­pa­nies and other sec­tors.

A re­bound in crude oil prices helped lift en­ergy stocks, which led the gain­ers. Banks posted the largest losses.

In­vestors were mak­ing mod­est moves ahead of Fed­eral Re­serve Chair­man Janet Yellen’s tes­ti­mony be­fore Congress to­day and Thurs­day, and the re­lease of the Fed’s Beige Book, an eco­nomic snap­shot used by the cen­tral bank to gauge U.S. eco­nomic trends.

The mar­ket will key in on both as it tries to dis­cern how Fed pol­icy on in­ter­est rates may play out this year and next, said Sameer Sa­mana, global quan­ti­ta­tive strate­gist for the Wells Fargo In­vest­ment In­sti­tute.

“Any time you have those types of po­ten­tially mar­ket­mov­ing events, es­pe­cially with pol­icy be­ing such a big fo­cus right now, peo­ple are al­ways a lit­tle hes­i­tant” to make big mar­ket moves, Sa­mana said.

The ma­jor in­dexes got off to an un­even start early on, then veered sharply lower be­fore mid­day as news broke that Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s el­dest son, Don­ald Trump Jr., had re­leased an email chain from last year that shows the Trump scion dis­cussing plans to hear dam­ag­ing in­for­ma­tion on Hil­lary Clin­ton from what was de­scribed to him as a Rus­sian gov­ern­ment ef­fort to aid his fa­ther’s cam­paign.

The news stoked in­vestor wor­ries over whether the head­lines could lead to more po­lit­i­cal un­cer­tainty in Washington and po­ten­tially hold up tax cuts, reg­u­la­tory re­form and other busi­ness-friendly pol­icy ini­tia­tives that the mar­ket has been ex­pect­ing. But the mar­ket mostly bounced back from the stum­ble by the end of the day.

Mostly, in­vestors ap­peared to be tak­ing a wait-and-see ap­proach ahead of Yellen’s two-day ap­pear­ance be­fore Congress.

Start­ing to­day, traders will be lis­ten­ing for clues as to how ag­gres­sively the Fed will con­tinue to raise rates and start to un­wind its big bond-buy­ing pro­gram. The lat­est U.S. eco­nomic reports, par­tic­u­larly for jobs, have been up­beat.

En­ergy sec­tor com­pa­nies led the gain­ers Tues­day. Devon En­ergy rose 80 cents, or 2.7 per­cent, to $30.53. New­field Ex­plo­ration added 47 cents, or 1.8 per­cent, to $26.83.

Fi­nan­cials com­pa­nies took losses. T. Rowe Price Group slid $1.89, or 2.5 per­cent, to $75.16. In­vesco fell 75 cents, or 2.1 per­cent, to $35.72.

The price of oil re­bounded af­ter dip­ping ear­lier in the day. Bench­mark U.S. crude picked up 64 cents, or 1.4 per­cent, to set­tle at $45.04 a bar­rel on the New York Mer­can­tile Ex­change. Brent crude, used to price in­ter­na­tional oils, rose 64 cents, or 1.4 per­cent, to $47.52 a bar­rel in London.

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