NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks were mixed in midday trading on Wall Street Thursday as investors continued to review the latest updates on the economy and corporate earnings.
The S&P 500 fell less than 0.1% as of 12:09 p.m. Eastern. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 76 points, or 0.2%, to 32,735 and the Nasdaq rose 0.2%.
U.S crude oil prices fell 3% and weighed on energy stocks. Exxon Mobil fell 2.6%. A mix of retailers and industrial companies made solid gains. Best Buy rose 1.9% and Deere rose 1.7%.
The yield on the 10-year Treasury fell to 2.68% from 2.74% late Wednesday.
Stocks have meandered this week, leaving major indexes mostly higher. August’s gain follows a standout July that was the S&P 500’s best month since late 2020. But markets remain volatile as investors try to determine the economy’s path ahead amid the highest inflation in four decades and efforts from central banks to fight higher prices.
Earnings remain in focus on Wall Street as investors look for more clues on how inflation is impacting various industries. Twinkie maker Hostess fell 4.9% after giving investors a disappointing profit forecast for the year. Bleach and consumer products maker Clorox fell 5.6% after also announcing a weak earnings forecast.
Companies have been raising prices on everything from food to clothing to help offset the impact of inflation on supply chains, but the pressure has become too much for many consumers. A surge in gasoline prices throughout the year worsened inflation and prompted spending cutbacks.
The Federal Reserve has been aggressively raising interest rates to try and slow the economy and temper inflation, along with other central banks. The Bank of England on Thursday initiated its biggest rate hike in more than a quarter century.
The Fed’s policy has investors concerned that the central bank could hit the brakes too hard and veer the economy into a recession.
A bright point in the broader economy has been a strong employment market. New data from the Labor Department on Thursday showed the number of Americans applying for jobless benefits last week rose in line with expectations, as the number of unemployed continues to rise modestly.
The latest data follows updates earlier this week showing that job openings remain at record highs. On Friday, the Labor Department delivers its July jobs report, which is expected to show some signs of tightening.
Investors are closely watching the latest jobs data to gauge whether any tightening in the employment market might prompt the Fed to eventually ease up on its interest rate hikes, potentially lessening the chance of the central bank bringing on a recession.