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NEW YORK: Wall Street’s main indexes dropped on Wednesday, as rising Treasury yields pressured megacaps after upbeat December retail sales data, tempering hopes of the Federal Reserve kicking off its rate-cut campaign as early as March.

The benchmark S&P 500 fell to an over one-week low, while the blue-chip Dow dropped to a near one-month low.

The NYSE FANG+TM index of momentum stocks dropped 0.9% to a one-week low, as the 10-year Treasury yield rose to over 4.1% - its highest this year.

The rate-sensitive real estate sector dropped 1.8% to a one-month low, in an overall decline in the 11 S&P 500 sectors.

Data showed discounts from retailers and increased motor-vehicle purchases aided a higher-than-expected rise in US retail sales, keeping the economy on a solid footing in 2024.

Traders’ expectations of a 25-basis-point rate cut by the Fed in March dipped to 55%, from around 60% before the data was released.

“The market is beginning to recalibrate its expectations for rate cuts, but I don’t think that adjustment is completely over,” said Brian Jacobsen, chief economist at Annex Wealth Management.

“A lot of what we’re seeing now is a tug-of-war between what the Fed intends on doing and what the market wants the Fed to do.” Halfway into the first month of 2024, Wall Street’s near-14% rally in the last two months of 2023 is losing steam as US central bankers continue to downplay expectations of a quick start to the policy-easing cycle, while data on the economy’s performance appears mixed.

The CBOE Market Volatility Index, a market fear gauge, rose to an over two-month high of 15.37 points during the day.

Investors will also keenly monitor remarks by several policymakers on Wednesday, along with the release of the “Beige Book”, a snapshot of the US economy, at 2:00 p.m. ET.

Meanwhile, Tesla shed 2.8% after the electric-vehicle maker slashed the prices of its Model Y cars in Germany, a week after reducing prices for some China models.

Morgan Stanley fell 2.0% on brokerage rating downgrades after Tuesday’s weak fourth-quarter earnings. Other lenders such as Bank of America and Citigroup lost over 0.5% each.

At 11:40 a.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 3.76 points, or 0.01%, at 37,357.36, the S&P 500 was down 22.35 points, or 0.47%, at 4,743.63, and the Nasdaq Composite was down 118.09 points, or 0.79%, at 14,826.25.

The small-cap Russell 2000 index dropped 0.9% to a fresh one-month low.

On the earnings front, Charles Schwab was down 3.3%, after its fourth-quarter profit fell 47%.

Spirit Airlines nosedived 22.4%, following a plunge in the previous session, after a US judge blocked JetBlue from acquiring the carrier.

Ford Motor lost 2.1% after UBS downgraded the stock to “neutral” from “buy”.

Boeing gained 1.4% after the Federal Aviation Administration said inspections of an initial group of 737 MAX 9 airplanes had been completed.

Declining issues outnumbered advancers for a 3.31-to-1 ratio on the NYSE and for a 2.66-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.

The S&P index recorded 23 new 52-week highs and four new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 33 new highs and 170 new lows.

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