NEW YORK (Reuters) - Wall Street seesawed on Thursday, dragged down late in the day by technology and financial stocks, while the dollar and the U.S. yield curve flattened in the wake of U.S. Federal Reserve news.
The Fed released minutes of its latest policy meeting, with almost all of its officials agreeing that another interest rate increase was “likely to be warranted fairly soon,” but also opening debate on when to pause further hikes and how to relay those plans to the public.
U.S. stocks had opened lower amid jitters over U.S.-China trade talks. They recovered into positive territory after the Fed minutes but turned negative again late in the day. [.N]
The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 27.59 points, or 0.11 percent, to 25,338.84, the S&P 500 lost 5.99 points, or 0.22 percent, to 2,737.8 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 18.51 points, or 0.25 percent, to 7,273.08.
Other stock markets were broadly higher. MSCI’s gauge of stocks across the globe gained 0.29 percent.
In Europe, stock gains were driven by the tech, mining and autos sectors, which were worst hit by recent losses. The pan-European STOXX 600 index rose 0.20 percent.
On Wednesday, Fed Chair Jerome Powell had said U.S. interest rates were “just below” neutral, less than two months after saying rates were probably “a long way” from that point. Many investors read the remarks as signaling the Fed’s three-year tightening cycle was drawing to a close.
His comments briefly pushed the U.S. 10-year bond yield below 3 percent, its lowest since mid-September.
The yield, which had risen as high as 3.25 percent this month, inched back to 3.0316 percent.
Investors will watch a meeting at which U.S. President Donald Trump and Chinese leader Xi Jinping are expected to discuss trade at the G20 summit on Saturday.
Trump said there was “a long way to go” on tariffs with China and urged companies to build products in the United States to avoid them.
“The messaging from the U.S. over the last four weeks has been characteristically erratic,” said David Page, senior economist at AXA Investment Managers.
The dollar, which has outperformed bonds and the benchmark S&P 500 stock index this year amid rising interest rates and safe-haven flows triggered by global trade tensions, was flat on Thursday.
The dollar index, tracking it against a basket of six major currencies, fell 0.01 percent, with the euro up 0.22 percent to $1.1391.
Sterling was last trading at $1.2784, down 0.31 percent on the day, after Bank of England Governor Mark Carney warned a disorderly Brexit could trigger a worse economic downturn for Britain than the financial crisis.
In commodities, oil prices rose after sources said Russia had accepted the need for cuts in production together with OPEC.
U.S. crude rose 2.31 percent to $51.45 per barrel and Brent closed at $59.51, up 1.28 percent on the day.
Reporting by Hilary Russ; Additional reporting by Helen Reid and Amanda Cooper in London; Amy Caren Daniel in Bengaluru; Editing by David Gregorio and Lisa Shumaker
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