Wall Street fell on Wednesday as possible U.S. military action against Syria stoked investor concerns about geopolitical risks and minutes from the latest Federal Reserve meeting sparked worries about a more hawkish view on interest rate increases.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 218.62 points, or 0.9 percent, to 24,189.38, the S&P 500 lost 14.68 points, or 0.55 percent, to 2,642.19 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 25.28 points, or 0.36 percent, to 7,069.03.
Members of the Federal Reserve voted unanimously to raise borrowing costs by a quarter percentage point and expressed confidence that the economy would strengthen and inflation would rise in coming months.
After the FOMC minutes were released, all three major Wall Street indexes moved lower, indicating investor concerns about rising interest rates.
“The minutes were modestly negative,” said John Carey, portfolio manager at Amundi Pioneer Asset Management in Boston. “People had been speculating that due to all the turbulence in the market because of geopolitical uncertainties that the Fed might consider pausing or slowing down the interest rate increases.”
Earlier in the day, political headlines had weighed on U.S. stocks.
U.S. President Donald Trump warned Russia of imminent military action in Syria, declaring missiles “will be coming.”
The rising tensions sent oil prices surging, boosting energy stocks nearly 1 percent. But the risk-off sentiment weighed on Treasury yields, pushing financial stocks down 1.4 percent.
Facebook shares added the most to the S&P, gaining 1.2 percent as Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg testified before Congress for a second day.
The shares were down about 0.5 percent at the start of Zuckerberg’s testimony, but they reversed course as he pushed back on Congress members’ suggestions that users do not have enough control of their data.
Industrial distributor Fastenal fell 6.4 percent after its earnings missed expectations. The stock was the biggest decliner on the S&P, followed by peer WW Grainger’s 4.2 percent drop.
Declining issues outnumbered advancing ones on the NYSE by a 1.03-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 1.15-to-1 ratio favored decliners.
The S&P 500 posted 6 new 52-week highs and 2 new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 43 new highs and 23 new lows.
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