After coming under pressure early in the session, stocks remain mostly lower in mid-day trading on Monday. The major averages have all slid firmly into negative territory, partly offsetting the strong gains posted the two previous sessions.
Currently, the major averages are lingering near their worst levels of the day. The Dow is down 177.91 points or 0.5 percent at 34,204.22, the Nasdaq is down 121.37 points or 0.9 percent at 13,308.61 and the S&P 500 is down 24.40 points or 0.6 percent at 4,149.45.
Lingering concerns about inflation and the outlook for monetary policy are weighing on Wall Street ahead of the release of the minutes of the Federal Reserve’s latest monetary policy meeting on Wednesday.
Traders are likely to closely analyze the Fed minutes for indications officials are growing concerned about the recent acceleration in inflation and considering tapering asset purchases.
The Fed has repeatedly signaled that it believes the increase in inflation largely reflects “transitory factors,” although the spike in consumer prices reported by the Labor Department last week still helped trigger a sell-off on Wall Street.
The pullback seen on the day comes after the rebound seen last Thursday and Friday lifted the major averages off their lowest closing levels in over a month.
In U.S. economic news, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York released a report showing its index of regional manufacturing activity pulled back modestly in May after jumping to a more than three-year high in the previous month.
The New York Fed said its general business conditions index dipped to 24.3 in May from 26.3 in April, although a positive reading still indicates growth in regional manufacturing activity.
Economists had expected the index to slip to 23.9 after reaching its highest level since October of 2017 in the previous month.
Meanwhile, the National Association of Home Builders released a separate report showing homebuilder confidence in the U.S. held stable in the month of May, .
The report showed the NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index came in at 83 in May, unchanged from April. The unchanged reading matched economist estimates.
Semiconductor stocks have shown a significant move to the downside on the day, dragging the Philadelphia Semiconductor Index down by 1.7 percent.
Considerable weakness is also visible among software stocks, as reflected by the 1.4 percent drop by the Dow Jones U.S. Software Index.
On the other hand, gold stocks continue to see substantial strength in mid-day trading, with the NYSE Arca Gold Bugs Index spiking by 4.1 percent to its best intraday level in over four months.
The rally by gold stocks comes amid a sharp increase by the price of the precious metal, as gold for June delivery is jumping $28.80 to $1,866.90 an ounce.
Computer hardware, steel and natural gas stocks are also seeing notable strength on the day, helping to limit the downside for the broader markets.
In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region turned in a mixed performance during trading on Monday. Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index slid by 0.9 percent, while China’s Shanghai Composite Index advanced by 0.8 percent.
Meanwhile, the major European markets all saw modest weakness on the day. While the French CAC 40 Index dipped by 0.3 percent, the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index and the German DAX Index edged down by 0.2 percent and 0.1 percent, respectively.
In the bond market, treasuries are showing a lack of direction following the volatility seen last week. As a result, the yield on the benchmark ten-year note, which moves opposite of its price, is up by less than a basis point at 1.639 percent.
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