U.S. Stocks Slip After Rally

By Marina ForceFeaturesDow Jones Newswires

U.S. stocks wobbled Thursday after major indexes closed at a trifecta of records two days in a row.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 18 points, or less than 0.1%, to 22173 shortly after the opening bell. The S&P 500 declined 0.2%, while the Nasdaq Composite fell 0.3%.

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Investors' expectations for an interest-rate increase jumped Thursday after data showed U.S. consumer prices rose last month by the most since January.

The consumer-price index, measuring what Americans pay for everything from medicine to home rent, rose 0.4% in August from a month earlier, the Labor Department said.

The data could reassure the Federal Reserve about the economy's strength as it considers raising interest rates, analysts said.

Federal-funds futures, used by investors to place bets on the Fed's rate-policy outlook, showed Thursday a roughly 53% chance of a rate increase by the end of the year, up from 31% a week ago, according to data from CME Group. Muted inflation readings throughout the year have made many investors question the Fed's plans to move forward with normalizing monetary policy.

The dollar fell after the consumer price data was released. The WSJ Dollar Index, which measures the U.S. currency against a basket of 16 others, was down 0.1%.

Government bonds edged lower, with the yield on the benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury note at 2.198% according to Tradeweb, compared with 2.194% on Wednesday. Yields rise as bond prices fall.

The stock market's stall follows two straight days of fresh records for the Dow industrials, S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite, as North Korea tensions and fears over Hurricane Irma have eased.

Although stocks have hit fresh highs this week, many investors continue to debate the durability of the market's run. While some say the rally's length makes them nervous, others argue that strong earnings and economic growth will continue to support stocks.

"I think we saw a bit of a fading in the momentum we had in the U.S. and people are still looking for direction more than anything," said Paul Hatfield, global chief investment officer of Alcentra.

"You have people predicting the next Lehman crisis because the cycle has gone on for such a long time and people saying that it should carry on because the fundamentals are fine," said Mr. Hatfield, adding that he sides more with the latter view.

Elsewhere, the Stoxx Europe 600 was flat, while stocks in Asia mostly finished lower after disappointing economic data from China.

Japan's Nikkei Stock Average ended down 0.3% and Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index fell 0.4%. South Korea's Kospi finished up 0.7%

In U.K., the British pound rallied against the dollar, climbing by 1.1% to $1.3357 after the Bank of England said it would keep interest rates unchanged, but signaled that officials are preparing to raise interest rates within months to restrain accelerating inflation.

Michael Wursthorn contributed to this article.

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

September 14, 2017 10:29 ET (14:29 GMT)