Stocks drift lower as investors digest inflation data, eye U.S.-China trade

Stocks fell modestly Wednesday, a day after the Dow Jones Industrial Average snapped a six-day winning streak, as investors digested a reading on May consumer inflation and continued to eye the U.S.-China trade fight.

How are the benchmarks performing?

The Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA, -0.12% fell 40 points, or 0.2%, to 26,007, while the S&P 500 index SPX, -0.17%  lost 6 points, or 0.2%, to 2,880. The Nasdaq Composite COMP, -0.33%   index fell 33 points, or 0.4%, at 7,790.

Stocks ended with small losses Tuesday after flipping between positive and negative territory. The Dow  closed 14.17 points lower at 26,048.51, off 0.1%, while the S&P 500  shed 1.01 points, or less than 0.1%, to close at 2,885.72. The Nasdaq finished with a loss of 0.6 points at 7,822.57. The declines ended five-day winning streaks for both the S&P and the Nasdaq.

What’s driving the market?

U.S. price inflation remains tame, according to the Labor Department’s Consumer Price index, which showed prices rising 0.1% in April, in line with the consensus forecast, according to a MarketWatch poll of economists.

The increase in the cost of living over the past 12 months also slowed to 1.8% from 2%. When eliminating volatile food and energy prices, inflation fell from 2.1% annually to 2%.

Though the measure isn’t as closely followed by the Federal Reserve as the personal consumption expenditures index, this latest evidence that price growth is slowing could support investors belief that the Federal Reserve will cut interest rates sooner than later.

But U.S. President Donald Trump on Tuesday said he was the one “holding up” a trade deal with China, saying the two countries would “either do a great deal…or we’re not doing a deal at all.”

Analysts blamed the remarks for casting a somewhat negative tone over global equities.

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