Stocks fell for a second day on Wednesday as Wall Street took a pause following a strong rally to kick off June.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average dipped 41 points while the S&P 500 traded 0.2% lower. The Nasdaq Composite lagged, sliding more than 0.4%.
Chipmakers contributed to the decline. The VanEck Vectors Semiconductor ETF (SMH) dropped 1.9% as Lam Research lost 5%. Applied Materials, KLA-Tencor and Teradyne also fell. Semiconductor stocks were pressured after an Evercore ISI analyst said a recovery in the space will likely be pushed back to the second half of 2020.
Wednesday’s declines come after muted trading action in the previous session. The Dow closed marginally lower on Tuesday, snapping a six-day winning streak.
Still, the major indexes were all up nearly 5% for the month, rebounding from a sharp sell-off in May as U.S.-Mexico trade worries were quelled while expectations for looser monetary policy increased.
Market focus remained largely attuned to global trade developments on Wednesday, after President Donald Trump said Tuesday that he was holding up a trade deal with China and had no interest in moving ahead unless Beijing agreed on as many as five “major points.” Trump did not specify these trade issues.
Washington and Beijing have imposed tariffs on billions of dollars’ worth of one another’s goods since the start of 2018, battering financial markets and souring business and consumer sentiment.
“Momentum can carry this market higher especially into the Trump/Xi G20 summit, but the bigger (and longer-term more important) question regarding whether the economic expansion is coming to an end remains unclear, and as such it’s not the time to be overly aggressive in portfolios,” Tom Essaye, founder of The Sevens Report, said a note.
Wall Street also kept on economic data as investors increasingly price in a rate cut from the Federal Reserve. Market expectations for lower rates by July were at 85.3% on Wednesday, according to the CME Group’s FedWatch tool. Low inflation, coupled with weak economic data, led to the possibility of lower Fed rates.
U.S. consumer prices rose just 0.1% last month, matching a Reuters estimate, the Labor Department said Wednesday. Core inflation, which strips out volatile components like food and energy prices, also rose 0.1%. The muted inflation numbers follow weaker-than-forecast employment and manufacturing data released last week.
Bank shares fell along with Treasury yields. Citigroup dropped 0.8% while J.P. Morgan Chase and Bank of America slid 1% and 0.7%, respectively.
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