U.S. stocks were whipsawing early Tuesday morning after spending most of the overnight hours lower.
Investors are keeping a wary eye on the Fed, hoping it might slow the pace of interest rate hikes aimed at curbing stubbornly high inflation.
The services sector, which makes up the biggest part of the U.S. economy, showed surprising growth in November, the Institute for Supply Management reported Monday.
Business orders at U.S. factories and orders for durable goods in October also rose more than expected. That news is positive for the broader economy, but it complicates the Fed’s fight against inflation because it likely means the central bank will have to keep raising interest rates to bring down price pressures.
The Fed is meeting next week and is expected to raise interest rates by a half-percentage point, which would mark an easing of sorts from a steady stream of three-quarters of a percentage point rate increases.
The central bank has raised its benchmark rate six times since March, driving it to a range of 3.75% to 4%, the highest in 15 years. Wall Street expects the benchmark rate to reach a peak range of 5% to 5.25% by the middle of 2023.
The aim is to cool growth without slamming on the brakes and causing a recession that would cascade through the global economy, slowing trade and consumer spending .
The S&P 500 fell 1.8% Monday to 3,998.84. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 1.4% to 33,947.10 and the tech-heavy Nasdaq gave back 1.9%, closing at 11,239.94. S
mall-company stocks fell even more, sending the Russell 2000 index 2.8% lower to 1,840.22.
Wall Street will get a weekly update on unemployment claims Thursday, while November’s monthly report on producer prices is due Friday.
Meanwhile, stocks were mostly lower in Asia on Tuesday after Wall Street pulled back as surprisingly strong economic reports highlighted the difficulty of the Federal Reserve’s fight against inflation.
Tokyo rose, Shanghai was flat and other regional markets declined. U.S. futures gained and oil prices also advanced.In Asian trading, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng fell 0.7% to 19,367.84 and the Kospi in South Korea fell 1.1% to 2,393.16. The Shanghai Composite index was flat at 3,212.53. Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 index closed 0.2% higher at 27,885.87. Shares also fell in Bangkok and Taiwan.