Nasdaq drags on Wall Street, bond yields dip

·3-min read
FILE PHOTO: A trader sits in front of the computer screens at his desk at the Frankfurt stock exchange

By Pete Schroeder

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -U.S. stocks ended in mixed territory on Wednesday as the tech-heavy Nasdaq was dragged down by bleak Netflix earnings, while bond yields dipped after a recent strong run.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average ended higher for the second straight day, the S&P 500 was flat, and the Nasdaq Composite fell sharply after Netflix reported it had lost subscribers for the first time in over a decade, casting gloom over the tech sector.

The Dow ended up 0.71% , while the S&P 500 fell 0.06% and the Nasdaq dropped 1.22%.

The MSCI all-country stock index was up 0.28% firmer.

U.S. Treasury yields dipped after hitting three-year highs as buyers emerged. Benchmark 10-year yields were last at 2.8436%, after reaching 2.981% overnight, the highest since December 2018.

Investors got a fresh glimpse into the Federal Reserve's economic outlook on Wednesday when it issued its "Beige Book" of economic conditions from late February to early April. The central bank reported the economy expanded at a moderate pace during that time, though business reported issues with high inflation and worker shortages.

The Fed is expected to continue to roll out rate hikes at upcoming meetings in its bid to get a grasp on spiking inflation as several officials have struck a more hawkish tone.

San Francisco Federal Reserve President Mary Daly, typically a more dovish Fed official, said she would support getting the Fed's overnight interest rate up to about 2.5% by the end of the year, underscoring how aggressively the Fed is expected to move to combat inflation.

"The Fed's record shows that achieving soft landings whilst attempting to rein in inflation with rate hikes of this magnitude is next to impossible. On top of this, in virtually all previous hiking cycles, inflation started at much lower levels than in this one," wrote Deutsche Bank analysts in a note.

Complicating matters were signs of a slowdown in the U.S. housing market, as home sales dropped to their lowest level in nearly two years in March amid rising prices and mortgage rates.

The dollar stepped back slightly after hitting a fresh two-decade peak to the yen, buoyed as the Bank of Japan stepped into the market again to defend its ultra-low interest rate policy. The dollar index, which tracks the greenback versus a basket of six currencies, was down 0.64% to 100.311.

Oil prices stabilized after large losses earlier in the week and another trip into negative territory on Wednesday. Oil prices have proven volatile recently as investors balance a drop in U.S. oil inventories and concerns over tighter supplies from Russia and Libya with broader concerns about economic growth.

"We're in an uncertain demand environment with continued pandemic-related lockdowns in China, and with poor global economic data coming out regularly," said John Kilduff, partner at Again Capital LLC in New York.

Brent crude settled up 0.4 % at $106.80 a barrel, while U.S. crude ended unchanged at $102.75 per barrel.

Spot gold was up 0.4% to $1,956.80 an ounce, recovering from its lowest level in a week as bond yields eased.

(Reporting by Pete Schroeder in Washington, Huw Jones in London, Tom Westbrook in Singapore and Alun John in Hong Kong; Editing by Sandra Maler, Kirsten Donovan and Marguerita Choy)

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