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Sept. 8, 2021, 4:29 p.m. EDT

Dow, S&P 500 end lower for 3rd day as roaring U.S. economic growth moderates

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By Mark DeCambre and Joy Wiltermuth

U.S. equity indexes closed lower Wednesday, but ended off the session’s worst levels, weighed down by selling in the energy, materials and information technology sectors.

Investors also were digesting comments from Federal Reserve officials about when the central bank should ease monetary programs as the most severe impact of the COVID pandemic recedes.

How did stock indexes trade?

  • The Dow Jones Industrial Average /zigman2/quotes/210598065/realtime DJIA +0.21% fell 68.93 points, or 0.2%, ending at 35,031.07, after touching an intraday nadir at 34,925.61, representing the lowest level for the blue-chip gauge since about Aug. 20, FactSet data show.

  • The S&P 500 index /zigman2/quotes/210599714/realtime SPX -0.11% shed 5.69 points, or 0.1%, finishing at 4,514.07.

  • The Nasdaq Composite Index /zigman2/quotes/210598365/realtime COMP -0.82% dropped 87.69 points, or 0.6%, closing at 15,286.64.

  • The small-cap Russell 2000 /zigman2/quotes/210598147/delayed RUT -0.21% underperformed, shedding 1.1%.

On Tuesday , the Dow industrials fell 269.09 points, or 0.8%, to finish at 35,100, the S&P 500 slipped 15.40 points, or 0.3%, to end at 4,520.03. The Nasdaq Composite gained 10.81 points, or 0.1%, to finish at 15,374.33.

What drove the market?

Stocks ended lower Wednesday in relatively light trade, following the Labor Day holiday, where markets were closed on Monday, and the end of Rosh Hashana, which concludes at sunset on Wednesday.

Traders sold shares in the information technology, energy and materials sectors as uncertainty grows about the outlook for stocks after a strong second-quarter earnings period. Doubts also have emerged about the persistence of supportive monetary policies, credited with fueling record gains for stocks, now considered richly valued.

“I think markets are becoming a bit more defensive over the past couple of days,” said James Ragan, D.A. Davidson’s director or wealth management research, in a phone interview.

“We’re seeing some outperformance in traditionally defensive sectors, including utilities and consumer staples, and less participation from the tech sector, even though that’s holding up relatively well.”

Ragan attributed the “mild pullback” and “mild rotation” to some fears about economic growth in light of the delta variant of the coronavirus, but also to concerns about inflation, tapering and rancor in Washington over spending, taxes and the budget.

A clutch of Wall Street banks, including Goldman Sachs, have cut U.S. growth targets in the wake of weaker-than-expected jobs figures.

The Federal Reserve’s Beige Book on Wednesday showed that economic growth slowed to a moderate pace in early July through August, while noting that safety concerns tied to the delta variant of COVID-19 prompted a pullback in dining out and travel, which weigh on the greater economy.

On top of that, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said in a letter to congressional leaders Wednesday that the department could run out of room next month to keep paying the government’s bills unless Congress steps in  to suspend or raise the federal borrowing limit .

/zigman2/quotes/210598065/realtime
US : Dow Jones Global
35,677.02
+73.94 +0.21%
Volume: 349.08M
Oct. 22, 2021 5:04p
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/zigman2/quotes/210599714/realtime
US : S&P US
4,544.90
-4.88 -0.11%
Volume: 1.82B
Oct. 22, 2021 5:04p
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/zigman2/quotes/210598365/realtime
US : Nasdaq
15,090.20
-125.50 -0.82%
Volume: 5.11M
Oct. 22, 2021 5:16p
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/zigman2/quotes/210598147/delayed
US : US Composite
2,291.27
-4.92 -0.21%
Volume: 1.32M
Oct. 22, 2021 4:30p
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