Stocks remained lower Wednesday after the Federal Reserve found the U.S. economy mostly growing at a steady clip.
The S&P 500 was down 0.22%, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.22%, and the Nasdaq slid 0.26%. The Nasdaq hit an intraday record high shortly after opening.
Wall Street's seven-day winning streak came to an end on Tuesday in a groggy return after the long Memorial Day weekend. The S&P 500 and the Nasdaq retreated from records set on Friday and ended lower for the first time in eight sessions.
The U.S. economy continues to grow at "modest or moderate" pace, according to the Fed's "Beige Book," an anecdotal reading on how the 12 Fed districts have fared over the last six weeks. However, some regions did experience slower growth and less optimism. The labor market remains a bright spot with more signs of labor shortages and wage growth trending higher.
Crude oil moved sharply lower again on Wednesday as prices continued to spiral over global oversupply worries. Libya's oil production is anticipated to increase to 800,000 barrels a day this year, according to the Tripoli-based National Oil Corporation. Libyan output currently sits at 794,000 barrels a day. Production at the country's largest oil field recently returned to higher levels after a technical issue was resolved.
Commodities have been under pressure since the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries made the expected move to extend their output cut agreement by another nine months, but failed to enact further price-stabilizing measures.
West Texas Intermediate crude was down 2.4% to $48.48 a barrel on Wednesday.
The energy sector was pulled into the red on Wednesday with major oilers Exxon Mobil (XOM - Get Report) , PetroChina (PTR - Get Report) and Petrobras (PBR - Get Report) each lower. The Energy Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLE - Get Report) fell 0.5%.
The financials sector was also lower, retreating from the highs that propelled markets forward since Donald Trump's surprise presidential election victory in November. The Financial Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLF - Get Report) rose more than 17% from the day after Trump's election through to Tuesday's close, compared to the S&P 500's nearly 13% increase. The SPDR ETF declined by 1.1% on Wednesday, while Goldman Sachs (GS - Get Report) and JPMorgan (JPM - Get Report) led losses on the Dow.
The U.S. jobs report on Friday is on watch in this holiday-shortened week. The nonfarm payrolls report for May is expected to demonstrate continued strength in the labor market. The U.S. economy is expected to have added 175,000 jobs in May, while the unemployment rate is forecast to hold at 4.4%, according to FactSet estimates. Hourly earnings are anticipated to have risen 0.2% in May.
Friday's jobs report likely won't sway the Fed's decision for this meeting, but could influence the pace of hikes for the rest of the year. The Federal Open Market Committee, the decision-making arm of the central bank, is next set to meet June 13-14. Markets already have high expectations for an interest-rate increase at the next meeting of the FOMC, the second of three expected hikes this year. Wall Street has priced in a nearly 89% chance of a 25-basis-point increase to the federal funds rate when the FOMC meets, according to CME Group fed funds futures.
Inflation trends have been uneven, but they are not deteriorating, Dallas Fed President Robert Kaplan said in comments at the C. Peter McColough Series on International Economics in New York. On Tuesday, Kaplan said that the Fed can continue to raise interest rates while also reducing its balance sheet this year. Kaplan, a voting member of the FOMC, anticipates two more interest-rate hikes this year.
Economic conditions in the Chicago area actually rose in May, according to the Institute for Supply Management which erroneously posted a decrease earlier Wednesday. Chicago PMI increased to 59.4, its highest level in two-and-a-half years in May, from 58.3 in April. Chicago PMI was originally reported as falling to a four-month low of 55.2.
Pending home sales slid in April as tight demand hampered sales, which declined by 1.3% in April from March, according to the National Association of Realtors. Year over year, sales declined by 3.3%. Sales were expected to increase 0.5% in April.
Barclays (BCS) confirmed Wednesday that it would sell 22% of its stake in its African division. Barclays said it will sell approximately 187 million ordinary shares in BAGL, which could be worth £1.6 billion, reducing its stake in the African financial services company to 28%. The bank is targeting long-term shareholding in BAGL of around 15%.
Michael Kors (KORS) was the worst performer on the S&P 500 after swinging to a fourth-quarter loss. A loss of $26.8 million, or 17 cents a share, compared to earnings of $177 million, or 98 cents a share, in the same quarter a year earlier. Michael Kors booked a $193.8 million impairment charge tied to weak performances from certain retail locations.
Adjusted earnings of 73 cents a share came in 3 cents higher than estimates. Revenue of $1.06 billion also beat consensus of $1.05 billion. CEO John Idol said in a statement that "fiscal 2017 was a challenging year, as we continued to operate in a difficult retail environment with elevated promotional levels." Idol also conceded that the company's "product and store experience" did not engage consumers.
The handbag and accessories retailer anticipates first-quarter earnings between 60 cents and 64 cents a share, below estimates of 79 cents.
Vera Bradley (VRA - Get Report) rose 8.5% after posting a narrower-than-expected loss but sales that came in shy of estimates. An adjusted loss of 9 cents a share came in 4 cents less than what analysts anticipated. Revenue of $96.1 million fell short of estimates, though. Vera Bradley announced plans to close as many as 15 of its underperforming locations over fiscal 2018.
Tesla (TSLA - Get Report) shares were on track to close at a new record on Wednesday as anticipation for the start of production of its Model 3 sedan in July increases. The stock last set its record close last Friday. Tesla will close at a new all-time high if it holds above $325.14.
Movie theater chains AMC Entertainment (AMC - Get Report) and IMAX (IMAX - Get Report) declined on Wednesday after the domestic box office endured its worst Memorial Day weekend since 1999. Cinemas in the U.S. and Canada amassed a total $172 million over the four days to May 29 with new debuts Baywatch and the latest installment in the Pirates of the Caribbean series failing to boost ticket sales.
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