The S&P 500 eked out a fractional gain on Wednesday after a see-saw session, as investors weighed whether to start bargain hunting following a sell-off fueled by elevated Treasury yields and uncertainty about the path ahead for interest rates.
Investors were also attuned to developments in Washington as divisions among US lawmakers put the federal government at risk of a partial shutdown by the weekend.
A possible shutdown has added to worries for stock investors as they grapple with benchmark Treasury yields that have climbed to 16-year highs after the Federal Reserve last week signaled a hawkish long-term path for interest rates.
At the same time, as the S&P 500 has sharply pared its year-to-date gain, some investors are wondering if the market is close to a bottom.
"At some point people will start to buy stocks for the fourth quarter, and the third-quarter selling might be almost done," said Peter Tuz, president of Chase Investment Counsel. "At a certain level, people are going to get back in thinking the fourth quarter might be a pretty good one."
The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.2 percent, to 33,550, the S&P 500 gained 0.02 percent, at 4,275 and the Nasdaq Composite rose 0.22 percent, to 13,093.
The S&P 500 has fallen about 7 percent since late July, but remains up over 11 percent for 2023.
"Investors are looking for a turning point," said Art Hogan, chief market strategist at B. Riley Wealth. "Clearly, it is not going to take much of a breath of fresh air in this market for people to chase this."
In Washington, Republican US House Speaker Kevin McCarthy rejected a stopgap funding bill advancing in the Senate, bringing the government closer to its fourth partial shutdown in a decade. (Reuters)
Last updated: 2023-09-28 HKT 09:04