Major US stock indices fell slightly, as several favorable reports from companies were not enough to distract investors' attention from recent statements by the Federal Reserve System, which weakened hopes for lower interest rates.
Fed Chairman Jerome Powell said Wednesday that factors putting pressure on inflation may be “transient,” and he sees no reason to change the rate in any direction. This disappointed traders hoping for a rate cut in the short term. According to CME Group futures, traders have reduced the estimate of the probability of a rate cut this year to below 50%.
The block of favorable macroeconomic data also went unnoticed. A report by the Department of Labor showed that labor productivity in the US rose more than expected in the first quarter. According to the report, labor productivity rose by 3.6% in the first quarter after rising by 1.3% in the fourth quarter (revised from 1.9%). Economists had expected productivity to grow by 2.2%.
At the same time, the Ministry of Commerce reported that production orders rose by 1.9% in March, after falling by a revised 0.3% in February. Economists had expected orders to grow by 1.5% compared with the 0.5 percent decline, which was originally reported. According to the report, stronger than expected growth in production orders was due to the fact that orders for transport equipment increased by 7.0% after falling by 2.9% in February. Excluding orders for transportation equipment, production orders in March showed an increase of 0.8% after an increase of 0.3% in February.
Most of the components of DOW finished trading in the red (21 out of 30). The outsider was DowDuPont Inc. (DWDP; -7.50%). The growth leader was The Home Depot, Inc. (HD; + 0.89%).
Almost all sectors of the S & P recorded a decline. Only the health sector grew (+ 0.1%). The largest decline was shown by the conglomerate sector (-2.5%).
At the time of closing:
Dow 26,307.79 -122.35 -0.46%
S & P 500 2,917.52 -6.21 -0.21%
Nasdaq 100 8,036.77 -12.87 -0.16%
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