Stocks drift mostly lower on Wall Street, extending losses

Stocks drifted mostly lower on Wall Street in afternoon trading Tuesday, extending the market’s losses into a holiday-shortened week.

The S&P 500 fell 0.3% as of 2:24 p.m. Eastern. It has bounced between a gain of 0.5% and a loss of 1% throughout the day and is coming off its third losing week in a row. Markets in the U.S. were closed on Monday for the Labor Day holiday.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 112 points, or 0.4%, to 31,208 and the Nasdaq fell 0.5%.

Technology and communications stocks were among the biggest losers. Intel fell 2.1% and Netflix dropped 3.1%.

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Bed Bath & Beyond fell 17.9% following the death of its chief financial officer. The company has been suffering from a prolonged sales slump and executive turnover.

The company that wants to take Trump Media public, Digital World Acquisition, plunged 14.7% following reports it didn’t receive enough shareholder support for an extension to close the deal.

ADT jumped 15.4% after State Farm said it was taking a 15% stake in the home security company.

Trading began Tuesday at the New York Stock Exchange after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy virtually rang the opening bell. He gave a pitch for a program to attract large-scale investments to his country as it continues to battle Russian forces.

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Markets have been slipping in recent weeks and shedding much of the gains made in July and early August as inflation remains hot and the Federal Reserve stays on track to continue raising interest rates to try and tame stubbornly persistent high prices. The big concern is that the Fed might go too far in raising rates and slam the brakes too hard on an already slowing economy, potentially causing a recession.

Wall Street has been closely watching economic data for clues that inflation might be easing, which traders hope will give the Fed a reason to ease up on rate hikes. The Fed has already raised interest rates four times this year and is expected to raise short-term rates by another 0.75 percentage points at its next meeting later this month, according to CME Group.

“There’s a fairly consensus view now that the Fed is going to be higher for longer and err on the side of inflation reduction over employment and growth,” said Mark Hackett, chief of investment research at Nationwide.

Bond yields rose. The yield on the 10-year Treasury, which influences interest rates on mortgages and other loans, rose to 3.34% from 3.19% late Thursday. The two-year Treasury yield, which tends to track expectations for Fed action, rose to 3.51% from 3.39%.

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European markets mostly rose as did those in Asia. The Shanghai Composite Index rose 1.4% after China promised Monday to accelerate easier lending and other policies to shore up economic growth that sank to 2.5% over a year earlier in the first half of 2022, less than half the official annual target.