- Fed policymakers are split on whether more rate hikes are needed in July
- Target gains in quarterly profits
- Banks extend losses
- S&P 500 -0.36%, Nasdaq -0.44%, Dow -0.18%
NEW YORK, Aug 16 (Reuters) – Wall Street was lower on Wednesday after a Federal Reserve minutes report showed central bank officials were split on whether to raise interest rates higher at their last meeting.
At 3:02 pm ET, the S&P 500 (.SPX) was down 15.86 points, or 0.36%, at 4,422, and the Nasdaq Composite (.IXIC) was down 59.84 points, or 0.44%, at 13,571.21 on the Dow Jones Industrial Average. ( .DJI ) was down 61.97 points, or 0.18%, at 34,884.42.
“We’ve had an incredible rally year to date. It’s really defied all expectations for a bad reaction to the recession so far this year. That rally is starting to let some steam out,” said Mike Reynolds, vice president. Head of Investment Strategy at Glenmede.
“Investors are starting to take a more sobering view of the economic picture here.”
However, the minutes show that most policymakers continued to prioritize the fight against inflation.
“I agree with the governors that we don’t believe inflation is completely in the rearview mirror,” said Peter Tuss, president of Chase Investment Advisors in Charlottesville, Virginia.
“I think the markets will be on pins and needles about what the Fed will do through September and October.”
The S&P 500 banking index ( .SPXBK ) fell 0.9%, with banking stocks extending losses. Bank of America ( BAC.N ) fell 1.9%, the leading loser among big banks.
Target ( TGT.N ) shares rose 3.3% after the big-box retailer beat second-quarter profit estimates.
The S&P 500 has been hit by a rough patch in August, with data underscoring sticky inflation and strong economy fans fearing that interest rates will be raised for a longer period.
While investors largely expect the central bank’s monetary tightening to near its end, concerns persist that the central bank may keep rates at current levels for too long.
Nvidia ( NVDA.O ) fell 0.12% after gains over the past two sessions, and two more brokerages raised their price targets on the stock ahead of the chip designer’s quarterly results next week.
Declining stocks outnumber advancing stocks by a 1.9-to-one ratio within the S&P 500 (.AD.SPX).
Reporting by Saeed Azhar and Noel Randewich in New York, Amruta Khandekar and Sristi Achar in Bangalore; Additional reporting by Louis Kraskopp in New York Editing by Maju Samuel, Vinay Dwivedi and Deepa Babington
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