Stocks finished lower Wednesday as investors await further trade and monetary policy updates. The Dow dropped 43 points, while the S&P 500 lost 0.2%. The Nasdaq Composite was down 0.4%.
Energy stocks led decliners Wednesday, now the worst-performing S&P 500 sector year-to-date, as oil prices slumped to the lowest since January. WTI crude fell 4% to $51.14/barrel after U.S. crude stockpiles increased to the highest level since 2017. Financials closed nearly 1% lower. Tech shares were pressured by weakness in semiconductors, with the Philadelphia Semiconductor Index slipping 2.3%. Utilities outperformed, with the defensive group up 1.3%. In earnings, Dave & Busters tumbled 22.4% to $40.00 after the restaurant and entertainment chain missed analyst profit estimates. In other corporate news, Qualcomm shed 2.3% to $69.59 after the Federal Trade Commission opposed the chip supplier’s attempt to delay an antitrust ruling.
Breadth was negative on issues by 8:7 on the NYSE and roughly even on the Nasdaq. Composite NYSE volume was more than 3 billion shares.
Investors digested inflation data ahead of the Federal Reserve’s policy meeting next week. The Consumer Price Index edged 0.1% higher in May, slowing from April’s 0.3% uptick. Meanwhile, core CPI (excluding food and energy) rose at a 2% annualized pace in May, matching the Fed’s target inflation rate. Treasuries strengthened following the weaker-than-anticipated inflation figures, with the yield on the benchmark 10-year note down two basis points to 2.12%. A separate release revealed mortgage applications surged 26.8% in the most recent week.