Wall Street holds breath ahead of Fed statement, markets dip

4 minute read

A Wall Street sign is pictured outside the New York Stock Exchange in the Manhattan borough of New York City, New York, U.S., April 16, 2021. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri/File Photo

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  • U.S. shares of Chinese tutoring firms drop
  • Oracle falls as profit forecast disappoints
  • Indexes down: Dow 0.46%, S&P 0.32%, Nasdaq 0.13%

June 16 (Reuters) - All three main Wall Street indexes traded lower on Wednesday, with the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq drifting just below record highs, as investors awaited imminent news from the U.S. Federal Reserve's latest policy meeting.

The Fed has previously tried to assuage concerns that rising inflation would prompt it to tighten its ultra-loose monetary policy, but data on Tuesday showing a jump in producer prices has again raised expectations the central bank could begin debating closing the taps at its meeting this week. read more

Inflation concerns have dominated markets in recent weeks even as strong corporate earnings and the gradual reopening of the U.S. economy have helped the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq reach all-time highs.

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"You could see a knee-jerk reaction where the market sells off (if the Fed talks about tapering) and once the uncertainty clears, the market will start to rally again," said Shawn Snyder, head of investment strategy at Citi Personal Wealth Management.

"There is a lot of discussion about tapering as if it's going to cause a market calamity but to me, anytime you get clarity on policy, that's a good thing and people might be underestimating that."

The central bank's latest policy statement is expected to be released with fresh economic projections at 2 p.m. ET (1800 GMT).

Interest rate-sensitive bank stocks (.SPXBK) shed 1.7%, tracking a dip in the benchmark 10-year Treasury yield . /US

Citigroup Inc (C.N) fell 4.4% as its finance chief, Mark Mason, cautioned that the economic recovery may not translate into better profits for the bank because of a slowdown in institutional businesses and higher expenses. read more

The index of energy stocks (.SPNY) also slipped, down 0.9%, despite U.S. crude prices holding steady around the multi-year high of $72 per barrel hit in the previous session.

Only three of the 11 main sector indexes were in positive territory: healthcare (.SPXHC), consumer discretionary (.SPLRCD) and retail (.SPXRT).

By 1:28 p.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (.DJI) fell 157.04 points, or 0.46%, to 34,142.29, the S&P 500 (.SPX) lost 13.42 points, or 0.32%, to 4,233.17 and the Nasdaq Composite (.IXIC) dropped 18.25 points, or 0.13%, to 14,054.60.

Oracle Corp (ORCL.N) dropped 4.8% trading as the business software maker forecast current-quarter profit below Wall Street estimates. read more

New York-listed shares of Chinese private tutoring companies New Oriental Education & Technology Group , TAL Education Group (TAL.N) and Gaotu Techedu Inc (GOTU.N) fell between 11.4% and 17.1% after a Reuters report that China was poised to unveil a much tougher-than-anticipated crackdown on the industry. read more

The S&P 500 posted 24 new 52-week highs and no new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 74 new highs and 20 new lows.

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Reporting by Shashank Nayar and Medha Singh in Bengaluru and David French in New York; Editing by Maju Samuel and Marguerita Choy

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