U.S. Stocks Open Lower As Investors Grapple With Rate-hike Expectations

By Ellie IsmailidouMarketsMarketWatch Pulse

U.S. stocks opened lower Monday, adding to the sharp losses incurred during Friday's selloff, which was sparked by rate-hike fears. Investors continue to weigh mixed messages from Federal Reserve speakers on the timing of the next interest-rate hike. A sharp decline in oil prices weighed on energy companies' shares, adding to the selling pressures in the equity market. Traders were awaiting a speech by Fed Gov. Lael Brainard, who in the past has struck a dovish tone. Earlier, Atlanta Fed President Dennis Lockhart said he thought the economic data over the past few weeks "warrant...serious discussion of a policy rate increase." The S&P 500 index lost 8 points, or 0.4%, to 2,120. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 84 points, or 0.4%, to 18,005. And the Nasdaq Composite shed 22 points, or 0.4%, to 5,103.

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