U.S. Stocks on Course to Pull Back Slightly After Rally

By Riva Gold and Kenan Machado Features Dow Jones Newswires

U.S. stocks swing between small gains and losses

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-- Dollar, bond yields lower

-- Spain weighs down European stocks

A rally in global stocks showed signs of stalling Wednesday, threatening to end the S&P 500's six-session winning streak.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average inched up 9 points, or less than 0.1%, to 22651 shortly after the opening bell. The S&P 500 edged down less than 0.1%, and the Nasdaq Composite declined 0.2%. All three indexes have risen to fresh records this week, but swung between small gains and losses after the most recent bout of corporate earnings.

PepsiCo was among the S&P 500's worst performers after the food and beverage giant reported weaker-than-expected sales in the most recent quarter. Shares fell 1.7%.

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Acuity Brands shares declined 5.5% after the lighting and building management solutions company's quarterly revenue also came in below Wall Street expectations.

Shares of Apple fell 0.7% after the European Union upped the stakes in its push to collect taxes from U.S. tech giants. The EU's antitrust regulator referred Ireland to the bloc's highest court for failing to implement its order last year that Dublin retrieve roughly EUR13 billion from Apple in uncollected taxes.

News hit that Yahoo's data breach in 2013 was far more extensive than previously disclosed. Shares of new Yahoo parent company Verizon Communications were little changed.

Wednesday's muted stock-market moves came after data was released showing hiring at private U.S. employers grew less than expected last month, as hurricanes disrupted employment growth. Investors will be closely monitoring Friday's monthly jobs report for another reading on the economy.

Traders were also awaiting a speech from Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen, expected later Wednesday, for clues about the central bank's latest views on sluggish inflation.

The yield on the 10-year U.S. Treasury note fell to 2.328%, according to Tradeweb, from 2.332% Tuesday. Yields fall as prices rise. The WSJ Dollar Index, which tracks the U.S. currency against a basket of 16 others, edged down 0.2%.

Elsewhere, the Stoxx Europe 600 fell 0.2% after rising for nine straight sessions -- the longest run since July 2015.

Spain's IBEX 35 index led global declines -- falling 2.2% to extend this week's losses -- as investors continued to weigh the implications of escalating tensions around Catalonia. The king of Spain accused Catalan leaders of pushing the country toward a constitutional crisis Tuesday, with the region's officials pledging to declare independence within days.

Shares of Catalonia's largest banks, Banco de Sabadell and CaixaBank, fell 5.2% and 5.8%, respectively, while Banco Santander fell 2.7%.

Moody's Investors Service this week warned the escalating conflict over independence could have negative credit implications for Spain because it complicates the legislative process. Yields on 10-year Spanish government bonds rose to 1.770% from 1.714% Tuesday, bucking a global trend of declines.

"Catalonia is such an integral part of the overall economy," said Patrick O'Donnell, senior investment manager at Aberdeen Standard Investments. Still, he doesn't see an immediate spillover to other assets across Europe because the situation doesn't pose an existential threat to the eurozone.

Companies making up the Stoxx Europe 600 index generate just 3.5% of their revenue from Spain, according to FactSet.

The euro was up 0.2% Wednesday against the dollar despite the political uncertainty and data showing a fall in eurozone retail sales.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index rose 0.7% to its highest close since April 2015, while Japan's Nikkei Stock Average rose 0.1% to post its highest close since August 2015.

-- Amrith Ramkumar contributed to this article.

Write to Riva Gold at riva.gold@wsj.com and Kenan Machado at kenan.machado@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

October 04, 2017 10:24 ET (14:24 GMT)