Stocks flat ahead of Beige Book
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.