Major indexes slip on Wall Street, reversing early gains

Stocks gave up an early gain and turned lower in morning trading today. The market had started higher after the latest data on inflation came in better than economists had expected.

The S&P 500 fell 0.2% as of 9:24 am. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 123 points, or 0.4%, to 34,746 and the Nasdaq was little changed.

Communications and industrial companies has some of the broadest losses, while health care stocks gained ground.

U.S. consumer prices rose a lower-than-expected 0.3% last month, the smallest increase in seven months and a hopeful sign that inflation pressures may be cooling. Investors initially reacted well to the data and stocks gained ground early on, but the gains quickly faded.

Bond yields eased following the Labor Department’s report. The yield on the 10-year Treasury fell to 1.28% from 1.32% late Monday. It had been rising overnight to about 1.34% shortly before the report was released.

Inflation has been a key concern for investors, who are trying to gauge how it will impact both the economy’s recovery and the Federal Reserve’s policy on maintaining low interest rates. The central bank has said higher costs for raw materials and consumer goods will likely remain temporary as the economy recovers, but analysts are concerned that the higher prices could stick around and dent companies’ bottom lines while also crimping spending.

The broader concerns about inflation and rising prices have added to choppy trading, along with with lingering worries about how the more contagious delta variant of COVID-19 will impact an economy still finding its footing. Investors will get a glimpse at spending data later this week when the Commerce Department releases retail sales figures for August.