NEW YORK, April 7 — Wall Street stocks were mixed early today as markets tried to shrug off worries over tightening monetary policy while fresh data showed a drop in new unemployment claims.
Equities have tumbled the last two sessions following new signals that the Federal Reserve plans to hike interest rates and move more quickly to shrink its bond holdings.
Investors are “struggling to figure out the future and how it will be shaped by the Fed’s hawkish-minded shift in setting monetary policy,” said Briefing.com analyst Patrick O’Hare.
“The struggle is taking place along an economic continuum between a soft landing and a hard landing,” O’Hare said. Both outcomes “involve lower growth, and, consequently, weaker earnings growth,” he said.
The Fed pivot is an effort to counter inflation, the downside of a strong labour market indicated by data released Thursday showing another multi-decade low in new jobless claims was reached last week.
About 25 minutes into trading, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 0.4 per cent at 34,365.27.
The broad-based S&P 500 added 0.1 per cent at 4,484.57, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index advanced 0.2 per cent to 13,914.44.
Among individual companies HP surged 16.8 per cent on news that Warren Buffet’s Berkshire Hathaway had built about an 11 per cent stake in the technology company. — AFP