NEW YORK: Wall Street’s main indexes edged down on Wednesday as Treasury yields rose on growing expectations that the Federal Reserve could keep interest rates higher for longer, while mixed earnings from regional banks and weakness in Tesla further dented sentiment.
Tesla Inc dropped 1.6% after the electric-vehicle maker’s sixth price cut this year in the United States, ahead of its first-quarter results.
Netflix Inc slid 3.8% after the video-streaming pioneer issued a downbeat forecast.
Morgan Stanley slipped 0.5% as the Wall Street bank reported a fall in quarterly earnings, a day after rival Goldman Sachs Group Inc posted a 19% drop in profit.
While the start of the earnings season has been largely supportive for equities, investors will closely watch updates from market heavyweights as well as consumer companies for signs of inflation and economic slowdown hurting margins.
“The consensus coming out of corporate America is that we have good times now, but harder times ahead. The big surprise could be an earlier recession than expected,” said Brian Jacobsen, senior investment strategist at Allspring Global Investments.
“What we are expecting is that margins are going to come under further pressure, which could mean more downside risks for markets.” Mixed economic data recently has fueled bets that the US central bank will hike interest rates by 25 basis points in May, with traders seeing an 83% chance for such a move, as per CME Group’s Fedwatch tool.
The 10-year Treasury yield hit four-week highs, while interest rate sensitive two-year yields scaled a five-week peak, as global yields were dragged upwards by higher-than-expected British inflation and increasing possibility the Fed could keep hiking rates.
Defensive stocks, including healthcare and utilities, that tend to do well during economic uncertainties rose, limiting broader market declines.
The Fed’s “Beige Book”, a snapshot of the health of the US economy, will be released at 2:00 p.m. ET (1800 GMT), and investors will scrutinize it for the impact of the recent banking crisis on economic activity.
At 11:43 a.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 98.33 points, or 0.29%, at 33,878.30, the S&P 500 was down 7.73 points, or 0.19%, at 4,147.14, and the Nasdaq Composite was down 23.20 points, or 0.19%, at 12,130.21.
Chipmakers including Micron Technology, Qualcomm Inc and Intel Corp were down between 1% and 2% after European giant ASML Holding NV noted some signs of caution among customers.
The Philadelphia SE Semiconductor index dropped 1.4%.
Earnings from regional banks were mixed, with Citizens Financial Group Inc falling 2.3% after its first-quarter results missed estimates.
Western Alliance Bancorp rallied 15.6% as brokerages remained optimistic on the regional bank following better-than-expected earnings.
Shares of First Republic Bank, Zions Bancorporation and Pacwest Bancorp rose between 3% and 7.3%.
Declining issues outnumbered advancers by a 2.17-to-1 ratio on the NYSE and a 1.60-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.
The S&P index recorded 12 new 52-week highs and one new low, while the Nasdaq recorded 35 new highs and 96 new lows.