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U.S. Stocks Move Mostly Lower Ahead Of Fed Announcement

Stocks have moved mostly lower over the course of the trading day on Tuesday, with the major averages all moving to the downside after ending the previous session modestly higher.

In recent trading, the major averages have fallen to new lows for the session. The Dow is down 303.53 points or 0.8 percent at 38,082.56, the Nasdaq is down 131.42 points or 0.8 percent at 15,851.66 and the S&P 500 is down 36.35 points or 0.7 percent at 5,079.82.

The weakness on Wall Street partly reflects lingering concerns about the outlook for interest rates ahead of the Federal Reserve’s monetary policy announcement on Wednesday.

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The Fed is widely expected to leave interest rates unchanged, but the accompanying statement and Fed Chair Jerome Powell’s post-meeting press conference may shed additional light on the outlook for rates.

Recent economic data has tamped down expectations of a near-term rate cut, with the central bank now seen as likely to leave rates unchanged until at least September.

Negative sentiment may also have been generated in reaction to a Conference Board report showing U.S. consumer confidence deteriorated by much more than expected in the month of April.

The Conference Board said its consumer confidence index slid to 97.0 in April from a downwardly revised 103.1 in March. Economists had expected the index to dip to 140.0 from the 104.7 originally reported for the previous month.

“Confidence retreated further in April, reaching its lowest level since July 2022 as consumers became less positive about the current labor market situation, and more concerned about future business conditions, job availability, and income,” said Dana M. Peterson, Chief Economist at The Conference Board.

She added, “According to April’s write-in responses, elevated price levels, especially for food and gas, dominated consumer’s concerns, with politics and global conflicts as distant runners-up.”

Sector News

Gold stocks are turning in some of the market’s worst performances on the day, resulting in a 3.5 percent nosedive by the NYSE Arca Gold Bugs Index.

The sell-off by gold stocks comes amid a steep drop by the price of the precious metal, with gold for June delivery plummeting $53.20 to $2,304.50 an ounce.

Substantial weakness is also visible among energy stocks, which are moving significantly lower along with the price of crude oil.

Networking, airline and housing stocks are also seeing considerable weakness, moving lower along with most of the other major sectors.

Other Markets

In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region moved mostly higher during trading on Tuesday. Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index jumped by 1.2 percent and Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index rose by 0.4 percent, but China’s Shanghai Composite Index bucked the uptrend and dipped by 0.3 percent.

Meanwhile, the major European markets are turning in a mixed performance on the day. While the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index is up by 0.2 percent, the French CAC 40 Index and the German DAX Index are both down by 0.8 percent.

In the bond market, treasuries have moved back to the downside following the rebound seen over the two previous sessions. Subsequently, the yield on the benchmark ten-year note, which moves opposite of its price, is up by 5.6 basis points at 4.670 percent.

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