Falling bank, tech stocks give market a 2nd straight loss
Stocks closed modestly lower on Wall Street Wednesday, handing the market its second straight loss.
Banks and technology companies accounted for much of the slide as investors shifted money into US bonds, precious metals, and other holdings considered safe havens after more than a week of aggressive buying.
Energy stocks took the heaviest losses following a 4 percent drop in the price of US crude oil. That helped outweigh gains in health care, utilities, and elsewhere in the market.
The latest decline followed a broad drop in stocks that ended a five-day winning streak. The Federal Reserve set off last week’s rally when it signaled it is willing to cut interest rates to help stabilize the economy if the US trade war with China starts to crimp growth.
Investors are worried the dispute will drag on much longer than previously expected, weighing on economic growth and corporate profits. That has traders looking ahead to next week’s Fed meeting.
‘‘There are concerns about whether or not the Fed next week at its meeting is going to in fact continue to move its stance toward lowering rates,’’ said Quincy Krosby, chief market strategist at Prudential Financial. ‘‘The increasing concern is that the global economy continues to slow and that the slowdown is affecting the United States as well.’’
The S&P 500 index lost 5.88 points, or 0.2 percent, to 2,879.84. The benchmark rose 4.4 percent last week, its best weekly performance of 2019. It’s now about 2.2 percent below its record, set April 30.
The Dow Jones industrial average fell 43.68 points, or 0.2 percent, to 26,004.83. The technology heavy Nasdaq Composite dropped 29.85 points, or 0.4 percent, to 7,792.72. The Russell 2000 index of smaller company stocks gained 0.68 points, or less than 0.1 percent, to 1,519.79.
Major indexes in Europe fell broadly.
The sell-off in US markets reflects heightened investor uncertainty over trade and its impact on the economy.
President Trump’s decision to threaten an expansion of the trade war to Mexico made a jittery market even more uneasy. Those potential tariffs have been indefinitely postponed, but the move left its mark.
‘‘This was a game-changer; the idea that the administration would use tariffs to further policy that is not related to trade is concerning,’’ said Kristina Hooper, chief global market strategist at Invesco.
Investors will probably have to deal with more volatility ahead of an economic summit later this month. Trump has said he plans to meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping at the Group of 20 summit in Osaka, Japan. But Trump has also said that if the two can’t reach an agreement on trade, he’ll proceed with tariffs on $300 billion worth of goods from China that aren’t already subject to import taxes.
Technology companies accounted for much of the market’s slide Wednesday. The sector has been under the most pressure from swings in sentiment over the trade dispute. Cisco Systems fell 2.2 percent, and Micron Technology dropped 5.4 percent.
Banks declined as bond prices rose, nudging yields lower. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to 2.12 percent from 2.14 percent late Tuesday. Lower yields pull down interest rates on loans, reducing banks’ profits. Bank Of America dropped 1 percent, and Citigroup fell 1.6 percent.
Health care, utilities, and industrial companies were among the gainers. Johnson & Johnson gained 1.4 percent, Exelon rose 2.5 percent, and American Airlines added 1.7 percent.
Traders hammered shares in Dave & Buster’s Entertainment after the company gave investors a dismal first-quarter financial report and slashed its revenue forecast for the year. The stock plunged 22.4 percent, its worst one-day loss in over a year.
Mattel climbed 5.3 percent on reports saying the toy maker rejected another buyout offer from Bratz doll maker MGE Entertainment.
Medidata Solutions slid 3.6 percent after it announced a deal to be acquired at a discount by the French software company Dassault Systems. The deal values the provider of cloud-based services and software at $92.25 per share, less than its closing price of $94.75 on Tuesday.
Energy futures finished lower. Benchmark US crude slid 4 percent to settle at $51.14 a barrel. Brent crude oil, the international standard, dropped 3.7 percent to $59.97.