Stocks wavered on Monday morning on renewed worries the Federal Reserve could raise rates sooner than Wall Street anticipates.
The S&P 500 fell 0.04% on Monday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.08%, and the Nasdaq was down 0.03%.
Predictions for a rate hike later in the year could be misguided, Boston Fed President Eric Rosengren suggested on Monday. The current predictions for rate hikes this year are too low and too slow, he argued.
"As I see it, the risks seem to be abating that problems from abroad would be severe enough to disrupt the U.S. recovery," he said in prepared remarks. "Financial-market volatility has fallen, and most economic forecasts do not reflect expected large spillovers from continued headwinds from abroad."
Fed funds futures currently only place a September hike with chances greater than 50%, according to CME Group. An April rate hike is priced in at a 5% chance. The Fed forecasts two rate hikes this year, down from last year's forecasts for four.
Factory orders slid 1.7% in February, a sign that a strong U.S. dollar continued to buffet the industry at the beginning of the year. The fall was as economists had expected. Factory orders climbed 1.2% in January.
Stocks hit their highest levels of the year on Friday after a better-than-expected jobs report for March and solid manufacturing data boosted investor confidence in the U.S. economy. The S&P 500 ended the week 1.8% higher, closing at its best level of 2016 on Wednesday and again on Friday.
Crude oil prices on Monday were trading around the two-week low set on Friday. Oil slumped 4% to end last week at its lowest level since mid-March on doubts Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries can agree upon a production freeze when they meet in Doha on April 17. West Texas Intermediate crude oil was down 0.1% to $36.75 a barrel on Monday morning.
Russia added to worries over an international supply glut after data showed its oil output rise to its highest level in nearly 30 years last month. The country produced 10.91 million barrels of oil a day in March, close to record levels seen in 1987. Russia will join OPEC members in negotiations in Qatar.
Around 11.5 million confidential documents belonging to a Panamanian law firm were anonymously leaked on Sunday, implicating hundreds of wealthy and powerful people in tax avoidance and possible cases of money laundering. Some of the more high-profile people potentially involved include Russian President Vladimir Putin and Iceland's prime minister Sigmundur Gunnlaugsson. The leak has raised questions over lax global financial regulation that has made rampant overseas tax avoidance possible.
Virgin America (VA) rocketed 40% higher after Alaska Air Group (ALK - Get Report) reached a deal to buy the airline for $57 a share. The deal including debt is worth a total $4 billion. Alaska Air expects the deal to increase annual revenue by 27%. The transaction is expected to be completed by January 2017 and potentially create the fifth-largest airline in the U.S.SunEdison ( SUNE) slumped 32% on reports it is close to filing for bankruptcy, possibly within weeks. The alternative-energy company is speaking with two creditors to help fund operations during the chapter 11 filing process, according to The Wall Street Journal.
Apple (AAPL - Get Report) shares climbed nearly 1% after Credit Suisse analysts added the stock to their U.S. Focus List. The firm reaffirmed an outperform rating and raised its price target to $150 from $140.
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Blackstone (BX - Get Report) was slightly higher after agreeing to purchase Hewlett Packard Enterprise's (HPE - Get Report) 60.5% stake in MphasiS, an outsourcing services company based in India. Blackstone also offered to purchase the 26% stake owned by public shareholders. The total deal is worth around $1.1 billion.
Tesla (TSLA - Get Report) added more than 4% after announcing that reservations for its Model 3 electric car have reached 276,000 since orders began on March 31. The new model will not be out until late 2017. The new model has a $35,000 price point, appealing to a wider market than Tesla's more expensive vehicles.