World Economy

Wall Street Losses Modest But Broad

Wall Street Losses Modest But BroadWall Street Losses Modest But Broad

US stocks and Wall Street were lower in early trading as a weak jobless claims data pushed investors to continue taking profits in a market that had rallied to repeated records.

The day’s losses were modest but broad, with nine of the ten primary S&P 500 sectors lower. Utilities, considered a defensive play that outperforms in periods of economic weakness, were the only group in positive territory, gaining 0.1 percent, Reuters reported.

Energy shares continued to be weak, falling 0.8 percent as the worst-performing group. The sector has lost 4.6 percent this month amid a 4.9 percent drop in crude oil.

Wall Street has retreated recently, with the S&P 500 on track for its sixth decline in the past eight sessions. While the benchmark index is less than 1 percent from Friday’s record close, investors have found few reasons to buy at current levels. The S&P closed under its 14-day moving average for a second straight session on Wednesday in a sign of weakening near-term momentum.

 Longer-Term Trend

Many analysts view the longer-term uptrend as intact. In addition to holding near record levels, the S&P hasn’t suffered a prolonged pullback in months, with investors using pronounced market drops as buying opportunities.

“Fundamentally, we’re at all-time highs for profits and dividends and global trade, so the market should continue its longer-term trend higher,” said Tim Courtney, chief investment officer of Exencial Wealth Advisors in Oklahoma City.

“The one thing the market is concerned about is when interest rates are going to rise, but with the weak jobs data, the Fed has cover to push that back until next year.”

The Dow Jones industrial average was down 59.27 points, or 0.35 percent, to 17,009.44, the S&P 500 lost 5.91 points, or 0.3 percent, to 1,989.78 and the Nasdaq Composite fell 16.44 points, or 0.36 percent, to 4,570.08.

Meanwhile, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority has narrowed its search for a new head of its arbitration unit to two of its own long-time officials, according to a person familiar with the matter.

FINRA, Wall Street’s industry-funded watchdog, will replace the retiring chief of its arbitration unit with either Richard Berry, the unit’s director of case administration, or Kenneth Andrichik, its mediation director, the person said.

Linda Fienberg, who has been FINRA’s arbitration head for 18 years, will retire at the end of November, the regulator said.