U.S. stocks slip as Wall Street foresees higher interest rates

Stocks fell in morning trading on Wall Street today as traders try to calibrate how markets and the economy will handle the higher interest rates that are likely on the way from the Federal Reserve this year.

The S&P 500 fell 0.2% as of 9:20 a.m. Central. The benchmark index is coming off of five straight losses and hasn’t had a winning day since the first trading day of the year. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 174 points, or 0.5%, to 35,885 and the Nasdaq rose 0.2%.

Technology stocks were once again a significant weight on the market as investors shift money in anticipation of higher interest rates. Higher interest rates make the stocks of expensive tech companies and other pricey growth companies less attractive to investors.

IBM fell 4.1% and Oracle fell 1.4%.

A broad mix of industrial and communications companies, along with household goods makers, also fell.

Bond yields were stable, though they have risen sharply since the beginning of the year. The yield on the 10-year Treasury remained at 1.77% from late Monday.

Energy companies gained ground as U.S. crude oil prices rose 1.8%. Exxon Mobil rose 1.7%.

Retailers and other companies that rely on director consumer spending also gained ground.

The Fed has said it will accelerate the reduction of its bond purchases, which have helped keep interest rates low. The market now puts the chances of the Fed raising short-term rates by at least a quarter point in March at around 78%. A month ago, it was about 36%.

The central bank is easing up on its support for the U.S. economy and financial markets as businesses and consumers face persistently rising inflation.

The World Bank downgraded its forecast for the global economy, partly blaming supply chain problems that have been fueling inflation. The 189-country, anti-poverty agency forecasts worldwide economic growth of 4.1% this year, down from the 4.3% growth it was forecasting last June. It’s also down from the 5.5% expansion it estimates the global economy tallied in 2021.

Investors will get two key reports on inflation this week from the Labor Department. The Consumer Price Index for December will be released on Wednesday and give update on how inflation is driving the price of goods for consumers. The Producer Price Index for December will be released on Thursday and provide another update on how inflation is affecting prices for businesses.

Wall Street is also watching rising numbers of coronavirus cases globally to gauge the economic impact. China, the world’s second-largest economy, has put a third city on lockdown because of the latest surge.

Major companies, including automakers such as Toyota, had been counting on a recovery in the supply of semiconductor chips and other products from China and the rest of Asia, as vaccinations and other coronavirus prevention efforts has advanced. The recent surge in infections by the omicron variant of coronavirus has shaken such hopes.