Stocks fell slightly on Wednesday in choppy trading as markets struggled to sustain a rebound from earlier in the day. Traders also weighed comments from Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell, who reiterated the central bank’s stance to fight inflation.
The Dow Jones Industrials slid 47.12 points to conclude Wednesday to 30,483.13.
The S&P 500 dipped 4.9 points to 3,759.89.
The NASDAQ Composite was weighed down 16.22 points to 11,053.08.
Wall Street shook off fears of an economic downturn as Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell on Wednesday told Congress the central bank has the “resolve” to bring inflation down. Investors are increasingly concerned aggressive monetary tightening would tip the U.S. economy into a recession.
Some Wall Street banks increased their odds of a downturn this week with Citigroup raising chances of a global recession to 50%, pointing to data that consumers are starting to pull back on spending.
On Wednesday, the White House released a fact sheet calling for Congress to suspend federal gasoline and diesel taxes for three months. The effort is meant to ease pressures at the pump for consumers during an election year.
Shares of Marathon Oil and ConocoPhillips dropped more than 5% and 4%. Occidental Petroleum and Exxon Mobil dipped 2%.
A peek into the S&P 500 showed that the real estate and health care sectors drove outperformance in the broader market index, with the two sectors each up 2%. Shares of Crown Castle and American Tower jumped 5% and 4%, respectively. Shares of Moderna surged 7%.
Consumer discretionary stocks such as homebuilders Lennar and D.R. Horton each jumped 3%.
On the earnings front, KB Home will post results after the market closes on Wednesday.
Treasury prices jumped, lowering yields to 3.15% from Tuesday’s 3.31%. Treasury prices and yields move in opposite directions.
Oil prices lost $4.21 to $105.31 U.S. a barrel.
Gold prices recovered $1.30 to $1,840.10 U.S. an ounce.