NEW YORK: The S&P 500 and the Nasdaq drifted just below record highs on Wednesday, with investors on edge before potential hints from the Federal Reserve on when it would taper its massive monetary stimulus.
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.
Interest rate-sensitive bank stocks shed about 1.9%, tracking a dip in the benchmark 10-year Treasury yield.
Citigroup Inc fell nearly 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.
On the other hand, healthcare, energy and utilities were in a bright spot.
At 11:28 a.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 13.02 points, or 0.04%, at 34,286.31 and the S&P 500 was up 1.15 points, or 0.03%, at 4,247.74. The Nasdaq Composite was up 29.55 points, or 0.21%, at 14,102.40.
Oracle Corp dropped 5.3% trading as the business software maker forecast current-quarter profit below Wall Street estimates.
New York-listed shares of Chinese private tutoring companies New Oriental Education & Technology Group, TAL Education Group and Gaotu Techedu Inc fell between 8.4% and 13% after a Reuters report that China was poised to unveil a much tougher-than-anticipated crackdown on the industry.