US Stocks Slip as Consumer and Health Sectors Fall – Wall Street Journal

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U.S. stocks slipped Tuesday, a day after a strong rally, as consumer and health care shares fell.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 81 points, or 0.5%, at 17627. The S&P 500 dropped 0.4% and the Nasdaq Composite fell 0.5%.

Stocks have struggled for direction recently, with the S&P 500 up just 0.3% this month.

“We’re basically just hopping, not convinced of a big selloff or a run,” said Omar Aguilar, chief investment officer for equities at Charles Schwab Investment Management.

“A lot of people are still waiting for more clear views on where the global economy is going to go,” he said.

Shares of consumer staples companies in the S&P 500 fell 1.3%, while health care companies in the index dropped 0.8%, lagging the broader market.

Stocks rallied on Monday as crude-oil prices hit a 2016 high. Energy shares on Tuesday continued to climb along with oil prices, but weakness in other sectors weighed on major indexes.

The recovery in oil and gasoline prices has boosted consumer prices. The consumer-price index rose 0.4% in April from the prior month, the Labor Department said Tuesday. It was the largest one-month increase since February 2013.

Economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal had forecast a 0.3% rise. Overall prices rose 1.1% in April from a year ago, while prices excluding the volatile categories of food and energy jumped 2.1% on the year.

Federal Reserve officials focus on inflation and labor-market data as they consider when to next raise short-term interest rates.

With inflation moving toward the U.S. central bank’s 2% goal and labor markets tightening, there is a “pretty strong case for a June move’’ in interest rates, Richmond Federal Reserve Bank President Jeffrey Lacker said in an interview published Monday on The Washington Post’s website.

Investors, however, continue to pencil in little chance of a summer move. Fed-fund futures, used to place bets on central bank policy, show market participants see the likelihood of a rise in June at 11%, according to data from CME Group.

“There’s been a concerted effort to reintroduce some risk of [a rate rise in] June, but we don’t think the data will be strong enough to bear that out,” said Ned Rumpeltin, European head of currency strategy at TD Securities.

With the latest price releases, “the concern is what is driving inflation, and is it accompanied by higher wage growth?” said Mr. Rumpeltin.

In currencies, the dollar rose 0.1% against the yen to ¥109.21, while the euro was nearly flat against the dollar at $1.1312.

The British pound pared gains against the dollar to trade at $1.4466 after U.K. inflation data came in below expectations.

Greece’s Athex Composite Index rose 1.5% following news that the International Monetary Fund is pressing the eurozone to let Greece skip paying interest or principal on bailout loans until 2040, according to officials familiar with the talks.

Write to Riva Gold at