US stocks were mostly falling, led by tech stocks, as investors continue to worry about elevated oil prices and rising interest rates. At 09:53 ET (13:53 GMT) the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 13 points or flat, while the S&P 500 was down 0.6% and the NASDAQ Compositewas down 1.4%. The major Wall Street indices closed lower on Wednesday, with the blue-chip Dow Jones Industrial Average ending almost 200 points, or 0.6%, lower, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite dropped 1.1% and the broad-based S&P 500 fell 0.7%.
Fed hike expectations rise
Sentiment has been hit this week by concerns the recent stronger-than-expected economic data and rising oil prices will prompt the U.S. Federal Reserve to keep interest rates higher for longer.
Data released Wednesday showed that the US services sector which makes up more than two-thirds of the American economy unexpectedly accelerated in August, hitting a six-month high. Input costs paid by these businesses also rose. At the same time crude prices have risen to their highest level this year, stoking concerns about the cost of energy and its effect on inflation, again having an impact on inflation going forward.
This has resulted in bond yields climbing, with investors factoring in a greater chance of the Fed raising interest rates once more by the end of the year. According to Investing.com’s Fed Rate Monitor Tool, the probability that America’s central bank will choose to raise rates at its November meeting now stands at 43.6%, up from 39.3% in the prior day.
Jobless claims data due
New jobless claims came in lower than expected at 216,000 last week. They had been expected to rise to 235,000 from 228,000 the prior week. The Fed has been closely watching the labor market for signs that the tight conditions are easing, something it wants to see to prove its inflation fighting efforts are working.
There are also a number of Federal Reserve officials due to speak later Thursday at a fintech conference hosted by the Philly Fed, and their comments are bound to be studied for monetary policy clues ahead of entering the blackout period that precedes each policy meeting.
GameStop post smaller-than-expected quarterly loss
In corporate news, GameStop (NYSE:GME) exceeded estimates for quarterly revenue and posted a smaller-than-expected loss. But shares were down 2%.
ChargePoint (NYSE:CHPT) stock slumped more than 25% after the owner of EV charging stations missed revenue expectations.
Crude weakens on weak Chinese trade data
Oil prices fell Thursday, edging back from 10-month peaks after the release of weak Chinese trade data overshadowed another draw in U.S. inventories, signaling tightening supplies.
Data released late Wednesday by the industry body American Petroleum Institute showed U.S. crude inventories fell for a fourth straight week, dropping 5.5 million barrels in the week ending Sept. 1.
The reading usually acts as a precursor to inventory data from the Energy Information Administration, which is due later in the day.