By Lewis Krauskopf, Bansari Mayur Kamdar and Johann M Cherian
(Reuters) – The S&P 500 ended slightly lower on Wednesday as investors digested minutes from the U.S. Federal Reserve’s latest meeting and braced for significant economic data in the days to come.
Minutes showed a united Fed agreed to hold interest rates steady at the June meeting as a way to buy time and assess whether further rate hikes would be needed.
Following the release of the anticipated minutes, investors still largely expect the central bank to raise rates at its next meeting later this month. Key economic data is due before the meeting, including the monthly U.S. jobs report on Friday.
“The markets are in a wait-and-see for the economic data,” said Paul Nolte, senior wealth advisor and market strategist at Murphy & Sylvest Wealth Management. “Since the Fed is data dependent, so is the market.”
According to preliminary data, the S&P 500 lost 8.94 points, or 0.20%, to end at 4,446.65 points, while the Nasdaq Composite lost 25.12 points, or 0.18%, to 13,791.65. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 129.64 points, or 0.38%, to 34,288.83.
In data out on Wednesday, new orders for U.S.-made goods increased less than expected in May, fanning fears of an economic slowdown. Meanwhile, China’s services activity expanded at the slowest pace in five months in June, according to a private-sector survey.
Chip stocks fell after China said it would control exports of some metals widely used in the semiconductor industry as tensions between Beijing and Washington rise over access to high-tech microchips.
The Philadelphia SE Semiconductor Index dropped along with shares of Intel and Texas Instruments.
Shares of Meta Platforms rose ahead of the expected release of its Twitter-rival app, Threads, on Thursday.
Megacap stocks such as Meta have led the gains so far this year for major equity indexes, including the biggest first-half increase for the Nasdaq Composite in 40 years.
“We could see the largest stocks pull back, but the average stock catch up,” said Jack Ablin, chief investment officer at Cresset Capital. “We are looking for somewhat of a convergence.”
Shares of United Parcel Service dropped after the Teamsters Union said UPS “walked away” from negotiations over a new contract, a claim the shipping giant denied.
(Reporting by Lewis Krauskopf and Sinead Carew in New York, Bansari Mayur Kamdar and Johann M Cherian in Bengaluru; Editing by Marguerita Choy and Vinay Dwivedi)
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