NEW YORK, Aug 23 — US shares were mostly flat after the open today, as jitters about Federal Reserve policy and wariness about economic data kept investors on edge.
Focus is on Fed Chair Jerome Powell’s speech on Friday at the annual gathering of central bankers in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, but that may also offer a convenient opportunity to cash in on the upswing in recent weeks.
“The inference here is that the ‘nervousness’ factor was more of an excuse to do some selling in a market that had gotten overextended without much appreciation for the fundamental shape of things,” said Briefing.com analyst Patrick O’Hare.
Investors had seized on some signs of easing inflation pressures and a slowing economy to push up equities, based on the hope the Fed would slow or halt its aggressive interest rate hikes.
But O’Hare said markets should not be surprised that with consumer prices up 8.5 per cent in July, Powell would repeat his message that the central bank is not done fighting rising prices.
“One should have been expecting nothing less,” he said. “A Fed chair looking up at that inflation rate must sound resolutely hawkish.” After the three main indices lost two per cent or more yesterday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 0.1 per cent at 33,044.31 about 10 minutes into the late-summer trading session.
The broad-based S&P 500 was holding steady at 33,044.31, as was the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index at 12,384.55.
Semiconductor maker Intel was up 0.5 per cent after announcing a financing deal with Brookfield Asset Management to provide a US$30 billion (RM134 billion) investment in its Arizona chip plants. — AFP