The S&P 500 fluctuated on either side of unchanged after the index posted its biggest gain since August on Wednesday. The equity market benchmark is down about 1% so far this month amid concern about a broader pullback in the wake of a string of record gains. The Nasdaq Composite turned positive for a second day after halting a five-session slide.
"After seven months of gains, equity markets have been choppier midway through September," said Keith Lerner, chief market strategist at Truist Advisory Services. "This is actually quite normal from a historical seasonal standpoint, though the ongoing carousel of concerns continues."
Markets began fluctuating as investors weighed the impact of mixed economic data on the Federal Reserve's plans to taper stimulus. Fed policymakers meet next week.
Retail sales unexpectedly increase in August, suggesting that demand for goods remains strong. A separate report showed weekly jobless claims increased.
"It remains to be seen if this will reverse the slight downward trend we've seen in the market these past few weeks," said Mike Loewengart, managing director of investment strategy at E*Trade Financial.
Meanwhile, casino stocks with operations in Macao extended drops amid the government's tightening grip on the gambling hub. Travel and leisure companies led gains in Europe's Stoxx 600 Index as Ryanair Holdings Plc lifted its growth target.
Investors continue to assess the outlook for economic reopening amid the delta virus strain outbreak and rising costs fueled by higher commodity prices and pandemic-related supply snarls. The United Nations said the global economy is expected to undergo its fastest recovery in almost five decades this year, but warned about deepening inequities between advanced and developing nations.
"Investors are really trying to weigh the tug-of-war of concerns between how soon will the Fed taper," said Art Hogan, chief strategist at National Securities.
While global economic expansion remains above trend, it's past peak levels and a "deceleration" phase of the market cycle has begun, characterized in part by slowing earnings growth, T.Rowe Price said in its global asset allocation report.
Shares fell in Asia, where the debt crisis at China Evergrande Group and Beijing's latest push to rein in private industries hurt sentiment. Technology stocks slid as China slowed approvals for video games to enforce stricter criteria for content.
Some of the main moves in markets:
The S&P 500 fell 0.2% as of 4:08 p.m. EDT
The Nasdaq 100 was little changed
The Dow Jones industrial average fell 0.2%
The MSCI World index fell 0.2%
The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index rose 0.4%
The euro fell 0.4% to $1.1767
The British pound fell 0.3% to $1.3795
The Japanese yen fell 0.3% to 109.70 per dollar
The yield on 10-year Treasurys advanced four basis points to 1.33%
Germany's 10-year yield was little changed at -0.30%
Britain's 10-year yield advanced four basis points to 0.82%
West Texas Intermediate crude was little changed
Gold futures fell 2.3% to $1,754.20 an ounce
Published : September 17, 2021