© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A trader works on the floor at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York City, U.S., October 27, 2023. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid/File Photo
By Amruta Khandekar and Shristi Achar A
(Reuters) -Wall Street’s main indexes slipped on Wednesday as investors parsed earnings reports and comments from Federal Reserve officials for clues on how long the U.S. central bank will keep interest rates high and eventually start cutting it.
Treasury yields have retreated sharply from their highs amid expectations that the Fed has reached the end of its rate-hike campaign, helping the and the Nasdaq notch their longest streak of gains in two years on Tuesday.
Markets are now pricing in rate cuts as soon as in May, according to the CME Group’s (NASDAQ:) FedWatch tool, with odds of a cut of at least 25 basis points having risen to nearly 49%, compared with about 41% a week earlier.
Still, cautious comments from several central bank officials over the past few days have kept investors on edge, with Fed Governor Michelle Bowman flagging the possibility of further rate hikes given the strength of the U.S. economy.
Meanwhile, Fed Chair Jerome Powell did not comment on monetary policy in opening remarks to the U.S central bank statistics conference. Powell is scheduled to speak at another conference on Thursday.
“It’s hard to see the Fed moving to actual rate cuts in the first half of next year,” said Liz Ann Sonders, chief investment strategist at Charles Schwab (NYSE:).
“Inflation is not at the Fed’s target (and) the labor market, although weaker in October, has not deteriorated significantly. The economy still seems to have some traction.”
The benchmark slipped to 4.5295%, coming further off the 5% level breached in October. The U.S. Treasury is set to auction $40 billion of 10-year notes later on Wednesday.
On the earnings front, Warner Bros Discovery (NASDAQ:) slumped 15.7% after the company said Hollywood strikes and a weak advertising market could hurt next year’s earnings. The dour outlook also dragged shares of Paramount Global down 6.7%.
Five of the 11 major S&P 500 sectors rose, with real estate and information technology leading gains.
Utilities led declines, falling 1.7%.
While some analysts are cautiously optimistic about the prospects of a rally, others have highlighted recessionary concerns and tepid earnings forecasts keeping sentiment subdued.
At 11:27 a.m. ET, the was down 29.57 points, or 0.09%, at 34,123.03, the S&P 500 was down 2.93 points, or 0.07%, at 4,375.45, and the was down 20.44 points, or 0.15%, at 13,619.42.
Among other movers, Take-Two (NASDAQ:) Interactive Software rose 6.7% after the company said it would release a trailer early next month for the latest installment in its best-selling “Grand Theft Auto” videogame franchise.
Electric vehicle maker Lucid Group (NASDAQ:) fell 7.9% after trimming its production forecast.
Declining issues outnumbered advancers for a 1.36-to-1 ratio on the NYSE and for a 1.77-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.
The S&P index recorded 15 new 52-week highs and five new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 36 new highs and 118 new lows.