U.S. stocks swung between gains and losses on Wednesday as investors awaited clarity from Federal Reserve policymakers on their monetary tightening plans against against the backdrop of unfavorable economic data.
The S&P 500 rose 0.1% after the benchmark index fell for three straight sessions. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell below breakeven, while the Nasdaq Composite rose 0.3%.
Peloton (PTON) shares jumped as much as 13% after that the company said it had struck a deal to sell its fitness equipment and apparel to Amazon in an attempt to turn around its business and regain investor confidence.
Investors are on edge ahead of the central bank’s annual symposium in Jackson Hole, Wyoming later this week, where officials are likely to reiterate the Fed’s commitment to fighting inflation and curb hopes of a rate cut next year.
Despite messages from Federal Reserve spokespeople in recent weeks confirming interest rate hikes will continue through the end of the year, the market is still pricing in a low rate, Baird Investment Strategy analyst Ross Mayfield told Yahoo Finance Live.
“I really think all their jaw-twisting and hawkish behavior over the last few weeks is starting to show,” Mayfield added. “But you still have a market that I’m not sure they’re going to stick with as the economy slows next year.”
At the end of the Federal Reserve’s meeting in Wyoming, traders will listen to remarks from Chairman Jerome Powell for clues on whether the next policy announcement on September 21 will result in another rate hike of 75 basis points or a mild increase of 0.50 %.
Meanwhile, shares of Nordstrom (JWN) tumbled nearly 15% after the department store giant cut its full-year sales guidance to a range of 5% to 7% on Tuesday afternoon due to slower demand and inventory build-up. The move comes just three months after the company raised its outlook.
“Lower-income customer segments saw significantly more pullback than higher-income segments,” CEO Erik Nordstrom said on Tuesday’s earnings call, pointing to a specific slowdown in the store’s Discount Rack business.
In commodity markets, crude oil futures continued to rise after Saudi Arabia proposed the OPEC+ alliance on Tuesday may lead to possible production cutbacks. WTI crude futures rose roughly 1.2% to hold above $94 a barrel, while Brent crude futures rose by the same margin to above $101 a barrel.
Alexandra Semenova is a reporter for Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter @alexandraandnyc