Wall Street holds breath ahead of Fed statement, markets dip By Reuters

Wall Street holds breath ahead of Fed statement, markets dip By Reuters

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A Wall Street sign is pictured outside the New York Stock Exchange in the Manhattan borough of New York City, New York, U.S., April 16, 2021. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri/File Photo

By Medha Singh and David French

(Reuters) – All three main Wall Street indexes traded lower on Wednesday, with the and the Nasdaq drifting just below record highs, as investors awaited imminent news from the U.S. Federal Reserve’s latest policy meeting.

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.

Inflation concerns have dominated markets in recent weeks even as strong corporate earnings and the gradual reopening of the U.S. economy have helped the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq reach all-time highs.

“You could see a knee-jerk reaction where the market sells off (if the Fed talks about tapering) and once the uncertainty clears, the market will start to rally again,” said Shawn Snyder, head of investment strategy at Citi Personal Wealth Management.

“There is a lot of discussion about tapering as if it’s going to cause a market calamity but to me, anytime you get clarity on policy, that’s a good thing and people might be underestimating that.”

The central bank’s latest policy statement is expected to be released with fresh economic projections at 2 p.m. ET (1800 GMT).

Interest rate-sensitive bank stocks shed 1.7%, tracking a dip in the benchmark . [/US]

Citigroup Inc (NYSE:) fell 4.4% 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.

The index of energy stocks also slipped, down 0.9%, despite prices holding steady around the multi-year high of $72 per barrel hit in the previous session. [O/R]

Only three of the 11 main sector indexes were in positive territory: healthcare, consumer discretionary and retail.

By 1:28 p.m. ET, the fell 157.04 points, or 0.46%, to 34,142.29, the S&P 500 lost 13.42 points, or 0.32%, to 4,233.17 and the dropped 18.25 points, or 0.13%, to 14,054.60.

Oracle Corp (NYSE:) dropped 4.8% 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 (NYSE:) and Gaotu Techedu Inc fell between 11.4% and 17.1% after a Reuters report that China was poised to unveil a much tougher-than-anticipated crackdown on the industry.

The S&P 500 posted 24 new 52-week highs and no new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 74 new highs and 20 new lows.

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