By Sruthi Shankar and Amruta Khandekar
(Reuters) – Wall Street’s main indexes slipped on Tuesday after data pointed to strength in the labor market, dampening hopes that the Federal Reserve will signal an easing of its aggressive interest rate hikes.
Data showed U.S. job openings unexpectedly rose in September, suggesting that demand for labor remains strong despite the Fed’s aggressive interest rate increases.
“Hopes for a Fed dovish pivot are misplaced if today’s job openings are any guide,” said Ronald Temple, head of U.S. equity at Lazard (NYSE:LAZ) Asset Management.
“Despite other signs of economic deceleration, the job openings data taken together with nonfarm payroll growth indicate the Fed is far from the point where it can declare victory over inflation and lift its foot off the economic brake.”
All three main indexes notched solid gains in October, supported by better-than-expected earnings as well as hopes that the Fed will soon shift to a less hawkish approach as economic growth slows.
Investors are bracing for a hefty 75 basis point interest rate hike at the end of the Fed’s two-day policy meeting on Wednesday, but will be keenly watching for signs that there could be a smaller 50 basis point interest rate hike in December.
Another report showed U.S. manufacturing activity grew at its slowest pace in nearly 2-1/2 years in October while a measure of prices paid by businesses for inputs slid for a seventh straight month.
Megcap growth companies including Amazon.com (NASDAQ:AMZN), Alphabet (NASDAQ:GOOGL) and Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT), which have seen pressure in recent weeks after dismal earnings, fell between 1% and 3% in morning trade.
Among S&P 500 sectors, information technology led declines, while energy continued to be a strong outperformer.
At 10:39 a.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 71.34 points, or 0.22%, at 32,661.61, the S&P 500 was down 3.05 points, or 0.08%, at 3,868.93, and the Nasdaq Composite was down 14.22 points, or 0.13%, at 10,973.93.
U.S.-listed shares of Chinese firms such as JD (NASDAQ:JD).Com and Alibaba (NYSE:BABA) Group Holding jumped about 5% each following rumors based on an unverified note circulating on social media that China was planning a reopening from strict COVID-19 curbs in March.
Advancing issues outnumbered decliners by a 2.75-to-1 ratio on the NYSE and 2.24-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.
The S&P index recorded 20 new 52-week highs and four new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 69 new highs and 41 new lows.