Wall Street Ends Flat After Choppy Session

Source: thewillnigeria.com

Wall Street was mixed on Monday as weaker-than-expected U.S. economic data reduced concerns about potential interest rate hikes and a dip in oil prices pushed down energy shares.

U.S. consumer spending barely rose in February and inflation retreated, suggesting the Federal Reserve could remain cautious about raising interest rates this year even as the labor market rapidly tightens.

Trading was choppy and volume was low, with markets closed in Europe.

The S&P has mostly recovered from a 10-percent loss at the start of 2016 but many investors remain wary of potential interest rate hikes, the impact of volatile oil prices and an anemic global economy.

“I don’t think we’re out of the woods,” said Frank Gretz, a technical analyst at Wellington Shields & Co, a brokerage in New York. “I’ve noticed some loss of momentum in the last week.”

Investors will pay close attention to Fed Chair Janet Yellen’s speech in New York on Tuesday for clues about when the central bank might raise interest rates.

“We’ll be watching her to see if there is any change in her language or views, but the Street does not expect her to do anything to surprise the markets,” said Warren West, principal at Greentree Brokerage Services in Philadelphia.

The S&P consumer discretionary .SPLRCD and consumer staples .SPLRCS sectors rose 0.51 percent and 0.43 percent respectively. The utilities sector .SPLRCU lost 0.36 percent and energy .SPNY lost 0.34 percent.

Crude prices moved lower, with U.S. crude below $40 a barrel.

The Dow Jones industrial average .DJI rose 0.11 percent to finish at 17,535.39 points and the S&P 500 .SPX edged up 0.05 percent to 2,037.05.

The Nasdaq Composite .IXIC dropped 0.14 percent to 4,766.79.

Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide (HOT.N) rose 1.97 percent after China’s Anbang Insurance Group Co raised its offer for the U.S. hotel operator to almost $14 billion, the latest challenge to its merger with Marriott International Inc (MAR.O).

Noble Energy (NBL.N) dropped 8.19 percent after the company warned of a possible delay in the development of a key natural gas field in Israel.

Pandora Media (P.N) fell 12.17 percent after the music streaming company said its founder Tim Westergren was coming back as chief executive.

Cal-Maine Foods (CALM.O) jumped 8.76 percent after reporting higher-than-expected quarterly profit.

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners on the NYSE by 1,738 to 1,287. On the Nasdaq, 1,531 issues fell and 1,265 fell.

The S&P 500 index showed 29 new 52-week highs and one new low, while the Nasdaq recorded 27 new highs and 42 new lows.

About 5.1 billion shares changed hands on U.S. exchanges, below the 8 billion daily average for the past 20 trading days, according to Thomson Reuters data.