A choppy session left stocks just below the unchanged mark at the end of trading on Wednesday. Wall Street showed a lack of direction after Tuesday’s rebound, as investors wondered whether last week’s selling had brought the market to a near-term bottom.
The Dow Jones slipped 47.12 points to close at 30,483.13. The S&P 500 retreated 4.90 points to end at 3,759.89. The Nasdaq concluded trading at 11,053.08, a decline of 16.22 points on the session.
Six of the 11 S&P sectors ended the day in the red. Energy led the decline, weighed down by a slide in oil prices. The space dropped by more than 4%.
The major averages showed strength early in the day, but investors had a hard time knowing how to interpret new commentary from Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell, who gave testimony before the U.S. Senate.
The Fed chief said he will never take anything of the table when asked about a possible rate hike of 100 basis points. But he also said that the FOMC needs to be “nimble” when responding to data, which could mean some flexibility from the front-loaded hike path.
Looking to the bond market, rates moved sharply lower. The U.S. 10-Year Treasury yield declined 16 basis points to 3.14% and the U.S. 2-Year Treasury yield also dropped 16 basis points to 3.04%.
Commodity prices have subsided with oil retreating roughly 4% and falling below its 100-day moving average. With the decline, crude dropped below $106 per barrel.
Other commodities that traded in the red include silver, platinum, copper, corn and wheat.
From a global market stance, inflation figures rose in the United Kingdom and Canada. In the U.K. CPI data came in at 9.1% Y/Y, notching the country’s highest inflation level in 40 years. Canadian annual inflation increased to 7.7% Y/Y — its highest pace in 39 years.
Among active stocks, shares of Revlon jumped again, as cosmetics retailer’s post-bankruptcy surge added another 33% advance.