U.S. stocks capped a day of choppy trading with an uneven finish Monday as investors wrestled to make sense of newly pessimistic outlooks for the global economy.
Traders also weighed another troubling drop in long-term bond yields, which many see as a warning sign of a possible recession.
Large-company stocks ended broadly lower, led by drops in big technology companies. Apple fell 1.2 percent after announcing several new services including streaming video and news. Small-company stocks fared better.
The bout of volatile trading left the S&P 500 index slightly lower, extending the benchmark index’s losses from a broad market sell-off last week.
“Today’s moves are very reflective of very different interpretations of the environment and risks ahead,” said Luke Tilley, chief economist at Wilmington Trust. “Different investors and different investment shops are interpreting the data very differently.”
The S&P 500 dropped 2.35 points, or 0.1 percent, to 2,798.36.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 14.51 points, or 0.1 percent, to 25,516.83. It was down as much as 130 and up as much as 100 earlier in the day.
The Nasdaq composite lost 5.13 points, or 0.1 percent, to 7,637.54. The Russell 2000 index of smaller company stocks picked up 6.94 points, or 0.5 percent, to 1,512.86.
Major European stock indexes finished lower as uncertainty over Brexit continued.
Despite the market’s recent slide, the S&P 500 index is still up more than 11 percent so far in 2019, an unusually strong start to a year.
Stocks spent much of the morning wavering between gains and losses as investors weighed another downbeat outlook on the economy.
Citing a global slowdown and trade conflicts, economists from the National Association for Business Economics collectively project that growth will reach a modest 2.4 this year and just 2 percent in 2020.
That’s in sharp contrast to the Trump administration’s predictions that growth will accelerate in the coming years. Still, the economists say they think a recession remains unlikely any time soon.
Worried investors have shifted money into bonds, sending yields lower. The yield on the 10-year Treasury slid to 2.40 percent from 2.45 percent late Friday. At one point, the yield had fallen to 2.38 percent, briefly triggering deeper declines in the stock indexes.
The 10-year Treasury yield remains below the yield on the three-month Treasury bill, a worrying sign that in the past has preceded recessions. That “inversion” occurred on Friday and has spooked investors.
Published at Mon, 25 Mar 2019 23:52:00 +0000