Wall St falls in volatile trading as focus turns to Fed meet; Dow dips

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Wall Street’s main indexes fell in volatile trading on Monday, dragged down by Amazon.com and financial stocks, with investor focus squarely on the Federal Reserve meeting this week where policymakers are widely expected to raise interest rates.

Amazon.com slid 3.2%, adding to a 14% drop on Friday after a gloomy quarterly report.

Apple AAPL.O dipped 1.3% as the iPhone maker faced a possible hefty fine after EU antitrust regulators charged it with restricting rivals’ access to its technology used for mobile wallets. Read full story

However, Facebook-parent Meta Platforms climbed 2.8% after falling 9.8% last month, while Microsoft, Tesla and Nvidia rose between 0.5% and 1.5% after sharp declines in April.

Nine of the 11 major S&P sectors declined, with the real-estate sector leading the losses.

“It’s a waiting game. Let’s see what the Fed says, what the inflation data looks like later next week and we’ve got a lot of earnings (reports) this week,” said Dennis Dick, a trader at Bright Trading LLC.

“It has been a hard market and sentiment has got to a point where a lot of people have turned down this market. I’m not saying the bottom is in, but maybe it’s time to get off that cash and get some of that money back to work.”

The U.S. central bank looks set to deliver a series of aggressive interest rate hikes at least until the summer to curb surging prices, with traders seeing a 92.8% chance of a 50-basis point hike on Wednesday when the policy decision will be released. IRPR

There won’t be economic or dot plot projections at this meeting, but the market will pay close attention to Fed Chair Jerome Powell’s press conference for clues on interest rates and balance sheet reduction. 

The S&P 500 has fallen 13.5% so far in 2022, its steepest four-month decline to start any year since 1939, weighed down by rising bond yields, the conflict in Ukraine and pandemic-related lockdowns in China.

At 11:43 a.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average .DJI was down 147.00 points, or 0.45%, at 32,830.21, dragged down by a more than 2.5% fall in the shares of Visa V.N and American Express AXP.N.

The S&P 500 .SPX was down 18.89 points, or 0.46%, at 4,113.04, and the Nasdaq Composite .IXIC was down 10.01 points, or 0.08%, at 12,324.63, after rising as much as 1.3% earlier in the session.

The quarterly earnings season has been better-than-expected so far. Of the 275 companies in the S&P 500 that have reported earnings till Friday, 80.4% have topped Wall Street’s expectations.

Pfizer Inc PFE.N fell 1.3% after a large trial found its COVID-19 oral antiviral treatment Paxlovid was not effective at preventing coronavirus infections in people living with someone infected with the virus. Read full story

Activision Blizzard ATVI.O climbed 2.7% after Warren Buffett said Berkshire Hathaway Inc BRKa.N has taken a 9.5% stake in the “Call of Duty” game maker. Read full story

Spirit Airlines SAVE.N slid 9.7% after the ultra low cost carrier rejected JetBlue Airways Corp’s JBLU.O $33-per-share takeover offer, saying it had a low likelihood of winning approval from government regulators. Read full story

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners for a 1.18-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.

The S&P index recorded one new 52-week high and 43 new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 15 new highs and 304 new lows.