U.S. stocks fell on Wednesday as Wall Street failed to hold on to the sharp gains from the last two sessions.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 42.45 points, or 0.14%, to 30,273.87. Earlier in the day, it was down 429.88 points. The S&P 500 lost 0.20% to close at 3,783.28, and the Nasdaq Composite slid 0.25% to 11,148.64.
“It’s a moment of pause for the market to reflect on how durable the rally the past two days actually could turn out to be,” said Yung-Yu Ma, chief investment strategist for BMO Wealth Management. “The market’s making the assessment that it’s really going to take a lot for the Fed to make a dovish pivot. Yes, the JOLTS number was extremely welcome, no question about that. But that is really the tip of the iceberg in terms of what the Fed needs to actually take a softer tone.”
“There’s some reality creeping into the market and that enthusiasm of a good number is starting to fade,” he added.
Stocks staged a major rally earlier in the week, with the S&P 500 posting its biggest two-day gain since 2020, as bond yields declined from multiyear highs. On Wednesday, yields rose sharply, with the rate on the benchmark 10-year Treasury climbing to 3.74% after briefly dipping below 3.6% in the previous session. That put pressure on stocks for much of the day.
Private payrolls increased by 208,000, ADP said in its latest report, topping a Dow Jones estimate. Traders are looking ahead to Friday’s release of the nonfarm payrolls report. September’s ISM services index also came out Wednesday showing solid growth for the month of September.
Some market participants wondered whether those signs could mean markets have finally priced in a bottom after the sharp declines in the prior quarter.
“Q3 earnings reporting is not too far away and it’s definitely in the market psychology that the Q2 earnings season helped to stabilize the markets,” Ma said. “There was a lot of pessimism in the market that it was able to rally pretty strongly from for a couple of months. Right now there’s also this hope that the earnings season can stabilize the market and maybe come to the rescue again, the way that it did last quarter.”