Stocks lower on trade worries, interest rate concerns

U.S. stocks closed modestly lower Wednesday as tech stocks slumped and oil continued to unwind, closing at the $51 per barrel level.

The day's decline came a day after the Dow Jones Industrial Average snapped a six-day winning streak.

Wall Street sentiment was also burdened by concerns about what the Federal Reserve will do with interest rates when it meets next week.

Oil prices plunged more than 4 percent to $51.03 per barrel, weighed down by a weaker outlook for demand and a rise in U.S. crude inventories despite expectations of extended supply cuts led by OPEC.

U.S. crude oil inventories climbed 2.2 million last week, the U.S. Energy Information Administration said Wednesday. Analysts had expected inventories to fall by about 600,000 barrels. That hit oil company stocks.

The upshot of the trade and interest rate concerns left professional investors in a cautious mood.

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
XOM EXXON MOBIL CORP. 105.76 +2.40 +2.32%
CVX CHEVRON CORP. 156.26 +4.10 +2.69%
PSX PHILLIPS 66 97.01 +3.95 +4.24%

"The continued market recovery is encouraging, the overall economic environment remains supportive, and neither of the likely shock factors is necessarily indicating an immediate risk," Brad McMillan, chief investment officer for Commonwealth Financial Network, said to FOX Business.

"But the rising signs of economic weakness, combined with the fact that several of the market indicators continue to point to an elevated level of risk, suggest that volatility may return.

The pullback at the start of this month, on trade worries, only reinforces that possibility."

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
FB n.a. n.a. n.a. n.a.
GOOGL ALPHABET INC. 124.67 +0.95 +0.77%
AMZN AMAZON.COM INC. 124.25 +1.48 +1.21%

Shares of big tech companies fell on prospects that the federal government is launching antitrust investigations into them.

Facebook stock slumped almost 2 percent to end a six-day winning streak after the Wall Street Journal reported that the company found internal emails indicating that CEO Mark Zuckerberg knew about potentially questionable privacy practices at the social network.

In economic news, the consumer price index edged up 0.1 percent in May, the cost of food was offset by cheaper gasoline, the government said.

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
I:DJI DOW JONES AVERAGES 33762.76 +701.19 +2.12%
SP500 S&P 500 4282.37 +61.35 +1.45%
I:COMP NASDAQ COMPOSITE INDEX 13240.76594 +139.78 +1.07%

The CPI gained 0.3 percent in April.  In the 12 months through May, the CPI increased 1.8 percent, slowing from April's 1.9 percent gain. Economists expected an increase of 0.1 percent.  The core CPI nudged up 0.1 percent for the fourth straight month.

In Asia, China's Shanghai Composite fell 0.6 percent. Hong Kong's Hang Seng dropped 1.7 percent. Japan's Nikkei ended the day off 0.4 percent.


European markets finished the day lower. Britain’s FTSE 100 was down 0.4 percent,  France’s CAC 40 fell 0.6 percent and Germany's DAX was lower by 0.3 percent.