U.S. Stocks Move Mostly Lower As Fed Meeting Looms

wallstreet sept12 17sep21 lt

Stocks have moved mostly lower in morning trading on Friday after ending the previous session narrowly mixed. The major averages have slid firmly into negative territory but remain off the lows set earlier in the week.

Currently, the major averages are just off their worst levels of the day. The Dow is down 138.87 points or 0.4 percent at 34,612.45, the Nasdaq is down 98.53 points or 0.7 percent at 15,083.39 and the S&P 500 is down 26.98 points or 0.6 percent at 4,446.77.

The weakness on Wall Street comes as traders look ahead to the Federal Reserve's highly anticipated monetary policy meeting next week.

The Fed is widely expected to leave monetary policy unchanged but could address the outlook for its asset purchase program.

The minutes of the Fed's last meeting signaled the central bank was prepared to begin scaling back asset purchases by the end of the year.

With some recent disappointing economic data suggesting the Fed could push back its plans, traders are likely to pay close attention to the wording of the post-meeting statement.

Stocks saw some further downside following the release of a report from the University of Michigan showing U.S. consumer sentiment rebounded less than expected in September.

The report said the consumer sentiment index inched up by 71.0 in September from 70.3 in August. Economists had expected the index to rise to 72.2.

The modest increase came after the consumer sentiment index tumbled to its lowest level since December of 2011 in the previous month.

"The steep August falloff in consumer sentiment ended in early September, but the small gain still meant that consumers expected the least favorable economic prospects in more than a decade," said Surveys of Consumers chief economist, Richard Curtin.

Steel stocks have moved sharply lower in morning trading, dragging the NYSE Arca Steel Index down by 3.7 percent to its lowest intraday level in almost five months.

U.S. Steel (X) is leading the way lower, plunging by 6.4 percent after updating its third quarter guidance and announcing plans to spend about $3 billion to build a new mill.

Chemical stocks are also seeing considerable weakness on the day, with the S&P Chemical Sector Index tumbling by 2 percent to a nearly two-month intraday low.

Computer hardware, gold and semiconductor stocks have also moved significantly lower, while airline stocks are among the few groups bucking the uptrend.

In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region moved mostly higher during trading on Friday. Japan's Nikkei 225 Index climbed by 0.6 percent, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index jumped by 1 percent.

Meanwhile, the major European markets have moved to the downside over the course of the session. While the German DAX Index has slid by 0.7 percent, the French CAC 40 Index and the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index are down by 0.5 percent and 0.4 percent, respectively.

In the bond market, treasuries are moving lower for the third consecutive session. Subsequently, the yield on the benchmark ten-year note, which moves opposite of its price, is up by 5.1 basis points at 1.382 percent.

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