The Dow and the S&P 500 index slipped in choppy trading on Wednesday, pulled lower by shares of Intel after a bearish brokerage report, while the Nasdaq was propped up by gains in Tesla and Apple.
Eight of the 11 major S&P sectors were lower, with industrials, real estate and consumer staples down between 0.7% and 0.9%, respectively.
Intel fell 3.8% and was the biggest drag on the blue-chip and benchmark indexes after Citi Research analysts cautioned that the chipmaker could pre-announce weaker-than-expected earnings for the second quarter.
Altria, which was also a big drag on the S&P 500, slid 6.7% after a report that Morgan Stanley cut the tobacco company’s stock to “underweight” on competition concerns.
The energy sector was among the gainers, as Brent crude hovered near $122 a barrel. The sector has soared 65% this year and is on track for a bumper 2022.
“Investors are concerned with where energy prices are headed. All you’re seeing is people rearranging some positions and to some extent waiting for a better indication that perhaps inflation will come off in recent times,” said Rick Meckler, a partner at Cherry Lane Investments.
“You are just going to see more choppiness, there isn’t really any breakthrough news in the market, both in terms of earnings and economics.”
Against the backdrop of rising borrowing costs, focus this week will be squarely on consumer price index data due on Friday.
A hot reading would likely spook markets already worried about how the U.S. Federal Reserve will balance growth and inflation as it withdraws its pandemic-era policy support to the economy.
The benchmark S&P 500 index has climbed 9% since May 20 after falling as much 20.05% so far this year. It was last down 12.9% for the year. The blue-chip Dow is down 9% and the tech-heavy Nasdaq has shed 22%.
The CBOE volatility index was last trading at 24.20 points, above its long-term average of about 20 points.
At 10:02 a.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 103.37 points, or 0.31%, at 33,076.77 and the S&P 500 was down 8.79 points, or 0.21%, at 4,151.89.
The Nasdaq Composite was up 28.08 points, or 0.23%, at 12,203.31, boosted by a 4.3% rise in Tesla Inc shares.
Apple Inc rose 0.6%, up for the third straight session.
Western Digital Corp gained 1.6% after the memory storage devices maker said it was reviewing options, including splitting its flash-memory and HDD businesses.
Declining issues outnumbered advancers for a 1.88-to-1 ratio on the NYSE. Advancing issues outnumbered decliners by a 1.20-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.
The S&P index recorded three new 52-week highs and 29 new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 21 new highs and 31 new lows.