Market Snapshot: U.S. stocks steady as traders await Fed minutes


U.S. stock indexes are struggling to find direction Wednesday as Wall Street tries to maintain its latest rally while investors adopt a cautious stance ahead of the publication of the minutes of the Federal Reserve’s June policy meeting.

How are stock indexes trading
  • The Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA, -0.32%  lost 57 points, or 0.2%, to around 30,919;
  • The S&P 500 SPX, -0.37%  declined 5 points, or 0.1%, to around 3,826.
  • The Nasdaq Composite COMP, -0.31%  gained 3 points, or 0.03%, to 11,325.

On Tuesday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA, -0.32% fell 129 points, or 0.4%, to 30,968, the S&P 500 SPX, -0.37% rose 0.1% to 3,831 and the Nasdaq Composite COMP, -0.31% rose 1.7% to 11,322.

What’s driving markets

Evidence is mounting that U.S. economic growth is slowing. An ISM barometer of business conditions at service-oriented companies such as restaurants, hotels and retailers fell slightly to 55.3% in June and hit the lowest level in two years.

“I think today, just like most days recently, investors are really clinging to any little data point or news headlines that give them a glimpse into where the market could potentially be going from here,” according to Lindsey Bell, chief markets and money strategist at Ally.

“Recently a lot of the discussion has really been around this recession narrative, especially with the yield curve inverting for the third time this year….The market just remains on edge because there’s just a significant amount of uncertainty,” Bell said in an interview.

Treasurys held steady Wednesday morning, though the 2-year yield continued to trade above the 10-year yield.

With interest rates in mind, traders will also be keeping an eye on the minutes of the Federal Reserve’s June meeting, due for release at 2 p.m. Eastern.

“If there is a potential or any wavering from some Fed officials saying that potentially we need to do more, with perhaps a 100 basis point (rate hike) on the table, I think that those are going to be really the key areas to focus on,” Bell said.

“When I think about how to navigate this market right now…it’s really focusing on having that balanced portfolio because we’re in this wait and see mode about where the economic environment is going from here, and how Fed policy plays out,” according to Bell. “You have to have a little bit of exposure to everything.”

Earlier, Asia delivered a somewhat curmudgeonly response to Wall Street’s overnight recovery. Japan’s Nikkei 225 NIK, -1.20% lost 1.2% and China’s Shanghai Composite SHCOMP, -1.43% shed 1.4% after it emerged Beijing was once again tacking COVID-19 outbreaks in several regions of the country.

Companies in focus
Other markets
  • Crude prices were up after the previous session’s sharp drop. West Texas Intermediate crude oil futures CL.1, -3.40% CLQ22, -3.40% dropped 3.8% to $95.73 a barrel amid concerns that despite a slowing global economy the market remains tight.
  • Gold futures GC00, -1.32% were down 0.8% at $1,750 an ounce. The yellow metal sometimes struggles when the dollar rallies and it fell sharply on Tuesday, to leave it changing hands near an eight-month low.
  • Silver SI00, -0.82% slipped 0.3% to $19.10 an ounce, near is cheapest since July 2020. The grey metal has also been suffering from concerns slowing economic activity will reduce demand from hi-tech hardware producers.
  • Bitcoin BTCUSD, -1.80% is off 1.3% to $20,194.

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