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Markets

US stocks mostly down ahead of Powell appearance

  • The broad-based S&P 500 dipped 0.1 percent to 3,938.66, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index shed 0.3 percent to 13,338.94.
23 Mar 2021

NEW YORK: Wall Street stocks were under pressure early Tuesday ahead of congressional testimony from Federal Reserve Chief Jerome Powell as US Treasury bond yields continued to retreat.

Powell, set for two days of Capitol Hill appearances beside Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, said in prepared remarks that the US recovery "looks to be strengthening," but that the central bank would maintain accommodative monetary policy amid the coronavirus pandemic.

About 30 minutes into trading, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was unchanged at 32,733.60.

The broad-based S&P 500 dipped 0.1 percent to 3,938.66, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index shed 0.3 percent to 13,338.94.

Stocks have risen in the first quarter in anticipation of a much stronger second half of 2021, due in part to passage of President Joe Biden's $1.9 trillion economic relief package.

However, higher bond yields have been a lingering concern for investors. The yield on the 10-year US Treasury note was lower Tuesday.

Among individual companies, shares of AstraZeneca fell 3.4 percent after a US health agency said the drugmaker's coronavirus vaccine data may have included "outdated" trial data.

The news comes as Europe continues to wrangle over supplies of the jab, and after weeks of uncertainty centred on fears it was linked to an increased risk of blood clots.