Stocks slip on Wall Street, pulling S&P 500 below record

Stocks fell on Wall Street Monday in a sluggish start to the week as investors await the latest take from the Federal Reserve on inflation.

The S&P 500 fell 0.3% as of 1:30 p.m. Eastern. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 238 points, or 0.7%, to 34,241 and the Nasdaq rose 0.4%.

The benchmark S&P 500 is sitting just below its latest record high set on Friday. It is also coming off its third weekly gain in a row. Trading has been choppy as investors gauge the economic recovery and rising inflation’s impact on its trajectory and the Fed’s next move.

Banks, health care and industrial companies had some of the broadest losses. Big technology stocks helped offset some of the slide. Apple rose 2% and Adobe rose 2.6%.

Several large communications companies also made gains. Facebook rose 1.1% and Netflix gained 2.6%.

The Fed is meeting this week and will release a statement on Wednesday. Investors have been worried that the Fed could ease up on bond purchases and other stimulus measures as the economy recovers. No policy changes are expected immediately, but comments on a shift in policy could jostle an already skittish market.

Fed officials have maintained that any rise in inflation will be temporary as the economy recovers.

“There’s still this debate on inflation and, not withstanding what the Fed does and whether yields move down, there’s still some upward pricing pressure,” said Tom Martin, senior portfolio manager with Globalt Investments.

A boost in demand for goods has helped fuel a rise in the cost of everything from food to cars and household goods. Shipping costs are also rising and adding to the increase in prices. The uncertainty over inflation has been fueling much of the back-and-forth in the market between stocks that are considered safer value holdings versus those with more potential for sharp growth.

“As you go into the summer and you have uncertainty about inflation, the fed and the stimulus, you’ll kind of see people neutralizing bets,” Martin said.

Lordstown Motors sank 17.3% after the CEO and CFO resigned as problems mount for the startup electric truck maker.

Novavax gave up its early gains and was down 0.5%. The vaccine maker said its COVID-19 shot was highly effective against the disease and also protected against variants in a large study in the U.S. and Mexico. The company is facing raw-material shortages, though, and plans to seek authorization for the shots by the end of September.

Bond prices fell. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose to 1.50% from 1.46% late Friday.

European markets were mostly higher. Several markets in Asia were closed for a holiday.

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