S&P falls Thursday; Dow Jones rises 41 points as early stocks “quiver”

Finance

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NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks quivered in afternoon trading on Wall Street Thursday as markets continue an unsteady search for direction amid more mixed news on company earnings.

The S&P 500 fell 0.3 percent as of 12:51 p.m. Eastern. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 41 points, or 0.1 percent, to 30,626 and the Nasdaq rose 0.1 percent.

Treasury yields continued rising into multiyear highs, which has helped push up rates on mortgages and other loans. The yield on the 10-year Treasury climbed to 4.20 from 4.14 percent late Wednesday and is at its highest levels in 14 years. The yield on the two-year Treasury, which tends to track expectations for future Federal Reserve action, rose to 4.57 percent.

Earnings have been the big focus for Wall Street all week as investors try to get a better picture of how companies are faring amid the hottest inflation in four decades and how they see the economy moving forward.

The results have been mixed so far. Several big companies released encouraging financial results, while others have disappointed investors with weak or worrisome warnings.

IBM rose 4.2 percent after its third-quarter earnings and revenue topped analysts’ forecasts. AT&T jumped 7.5 percent after also reporting strong results.

Tesla fell 6.1 percent after saying it will miss its target for vehicle deliveries this year. Railroad Union Pacific slipped 4.1 percent after predicting slower growth, suggesting that the economy may be slowing down. CSX, which reports its results later Thursday, fell 2.5 percent. American Airlines fell 3 percent after reporting its latest results.

Technology stocks made strong gains. Nvidia rose 2.5 percent. Banks and financial companies fell and weighed down the market. Allstate slumped 11 percent after giving investors a disappointing financial update.

Markets in Europe were mostly higher. British Prime Minister Liz Truss resigned following financial market turmoil caused by multiple policy U-turns.

Investors remain concerned about inflation and the potential for recessions throughout world. Wall Street is particularly worried about the Fed’s ongoing plan to raise interest rates in order to slow economic growth and tame high prices. The U.S. economy is already showing signs of a slowdown and the Fed’s plan risks stalling the economy and causing a recession.

The employment market has remained a strong area of the economy, along with consumer spending. The latest government data showed that the number of Americans applying for unemployment benefits fell last week and remains historically low.

The healthy jobs market has been a tricky sticking point for the broader economy. While positive, it also signals that the Fed will have to remain aggressive in raising interest rates. Fed officials have warned that the unemployment rate will likely have to rise as part of their fight against rising prices.

The central bank has raised its key interest rate to a range of 3 percent to 3.25 percent. A little more than six months ago, that rate was near zero. The rate increases have been putting pressure on other areas of the economy, including the housing market.

The sharp rate increases have pushed mortgage rates up to 15-year highs.

Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac reported Thursday that the average on the key 30-year rate ticked up this week to 6.94 percent.

Last year at this time, the rate was 3.09 percent.

Higher mortgage rates are helping stall a housing sector that has been hot for years. The National Association of Realtors said Thursday that sales of previously occupied U.S. homes fell in September for the eighth month in a row.

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