U.S. stocks moved lower Thursday as investors dissected the latest batch of economic data and braced for more Fedspeak and the start of earnings season from corporate tech giants.
The S&P 500 (^GSPC) slipped nearly 1%, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average (^DJI) fell 0.8% during midday trading. The technology-heavy Nasdaq Composite (^IXIC) declined 1.1%.
Bond prices ticked up. The yield on the benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury note fell to 3.368% from 3.374% Wednesday. The dollar index traded lower Thursday morning.
Stocks plummeted Wednesday after new government data showed a slowdown in consumer spending activity, while a reading on wholesale price inflation showed signs that price pressures are easing in the economy. The S&P 500 had its worst day on Wednesday since mid-December, failing to hold the 200-day moving average, according to the US Market Intelligence team at JP Morgan.
Wall Street navigated another round of data and Fedspeak on Thursday. Federal Reserve Vice Chair Lael Brainard said Thursday the central bank should stay the course in making monetary policy more restrictive “to make sure inflation returns to 2 percent on a sustained basis.”
Later on Thursday, Bank of New York President John Williams, and Bank of Boston President Susan Collins are expected to speak at two separate events before the Fed’s next monetary policy meeting, which starts Jan. 31.
On Wednesday, other Fed officials called for more interest rate hikes. St. Louis Fed President James Bullard said policymakers should move interest rates above 5% “as quickly as we can” before pausing the current hiking cycle.
On the economic data front, new US home construction continued to fall in December, the fourth consecutive monthly decline, closing out a disappointing year for the industry.
Residential starts decreased 1.4% last month to a 1.382 million annualized rate, according to the government data released Thursday. Single-family homebuilding jumped to an annualized 909,000 rate. Economists surveyed by Bloomberg called for a 1.36 million pace of total residential starts in December.