Dow, S&P 500 post back-to-back declines ahead of key inflation report


U.S. stocks finished lower for a second session in a row on Wednesday, in a selloff that intensified into the closing bell, ahead of Thursday’s release of the July consumer-price index. The Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA, -0.54% shed about 190 points, or 0.5%, ending near 35,123, according to preliminary FactSet data. The S&P 500 index SPX, -0.70% shed 0.7% and the Nasdaq Composite Index COMP, -1.17% fell 1.2%, with all three indexes posting back-to-back losses. August kicks off a notoriously volatile stretch of the year for Wall Street. Investors now also have the likely impact of the highest Fed interest rates in 22 years to consider. Higher rates already helped cool inflation, but it still remains above the central bank’s 2% annual target. A lack of continued progress on that front could prompt more rate hikes from the Fed, and increase the odds of a U.S. recession. Economists polled by the Wall Street Journal expect inflation to accelerate to a 3.3% yearly rate from 3% in the prior month. As part of this, investors were monitoring higher energy prices, with the U.S. oil benchmark CL00, +0.11% closing Wednesday at a 2023 high of $84.40 a barrel.

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