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Wall Street Weakens Again Tuesday      04/16 09:09

   Most U.S. stocks are weakening again Tuesday, as continued worries about 
high interest rates compete with strong profit reports from some big companies.

   NEW YORK (AP) -- Most U.S. stocks are weakening again Tuesday, as continued 
worries about high interest rates compete with strong profit reports from some 
big companies.

   The S&P 500 was 0.3% lower in early trading, coming off a sharp loss after 
bending under the pressure from a jump in Treasury yields. The Dow Jones 
Industrial Average was up 78 points, or 0.2%, as of 9:45 a.m. Eastern time, and 
the Nasdaq composite was 0.4% lower.

   A 5.8% climb for UnitedHealth helped support the market after the insurer 
reported stronger profit and revenue for the first three months of the year 
than analysts expected. Morgan Stanley was another winner, rising 2.1%, after 
likewise topping expectations.

   But the majority of stocks on Wall Street were falling. PNC Financial 
dropped 3.3% after reporting weaker revenue than analysts expected. Johnson & 
Johnson sank 2.2% despite also reporting stronger profit for the latest quarter 
than expected. Its revenue came in a whisper below forecasts.

   Companies are under even more pressure than usual to report fatter profits 
and revenue because the other lever that sets stock prices, interest rates, 
looks unlikely to add much lift soon.

   Traders are pushing out forecasts for when the Federal Reserve can begin 
cutting its main interest rate, which is at the highest level in more than two 
decades. A string of reports showing inflation and the overall economy remain 
hotter than forecast is raising worries the Fed will have to keep rates high 
for much longer than expected to win the last bit of improvement needed for 
inflation to ease to its 2% target.

   After jumping Monday on stronger-than-expected data on sales at U.S. 
retailers last month, Treasury yields rose again following a speech by the vice 
chair of the Federal Reserve.

   Philip Jefferson said his expectation is for inflation to keep easing and 
for the Fed to hold its main rate "steady at its current level." That contrasts 
with what he said in February, when he said "it will likely be appropriate to 
begin dialing back policy restraint at some point this year" if things went as 
he expected.

   Fed Chair Jerome Powell will also be speaking in the afternoon, and that 
could send more swings through financial markets as traders trim their 
forecasts for how many cuts to rates may arrive this year. After coming into 
2024 expecting the Fed to cut rates six times or more, according to data from 
CME Group, traders are now mostly calling for just one or two reductions.

   The yield on the 10-year Treasury climbed to 4.68% from 4.61% late Monday 
and from 4.52% before the weekend.

   The yield on the two-year Treasury, which more closely tracks expectations 
for Fed action, rose to 4.96% from 4.91% late Monday.

   In stock markets abroad, indexes tumbled across Asia and Europe as they 
caught up with the drubbing Wall Street took on Monday. Stock indexes fell 2.1% 
in Hong Kong, 2.3% in Seoul and 1.4% in Paris.

 
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