U.S. stocks closed mostly lower after swinging between gains and losses ahead of tomorrow’s expiration of options and futures, a quarterly event that usually brings increased volume and volatility. Treasury yields rose for a second day and the dollar strengthened.

The materials and energy sectors lead the S&P 500 lower a day after the index posted its biggest gain since August on Wednesday. The equity market benchmark is down about 1 per cent this month amid lingering concern about a broader pullback in the wake of a string of record gains. The Nasdaq Composite finished in positive territory for a second day following a five-session slide. 

“After seven months of gains, equity markets have been choppier mid-way through September,” said Keith Lerner, chief market strategist at Truist Advisory Services. “This is actually quite normal from a historical seasonal standpoint, though the ongoing carousel of concerns continues.”  

Markets fluctuated as investors weighed the impact of mixed economic data on the Federal Reserve’s plans to taper stimulus. Fed policy makers meet next week.     

Embedded Image

Retail sales unexpectedly increase in August, suggesting that demand for goods remains strong. A separate report showed weekly jobless claims increased. 

“It remains to be seen if this will reverse the slight downward trend we’ve seen in the market these past few weeks,” said Mike Loewengart, managing director of investment strategy at E*Trade Financial.

Meanwhile, casino stocks with operations in Macau extended drops amid the government’s tightening grip on the gambling hub. Travel and leisure companies led gains in Europe’s Stoxx 600 Index as Ryanair Holdings Plc lifted its growth target.   

Investors continue to assess the outlook for economic reopening amid the delta virus strain outbreak and rising costs fueled by higher commodity prices and pandemic-related supply snarls. The United Nations said the global economy is expected to undergo its fastest recovery in almost five decades this year, but warned about deepening inequities between advanced and developing nations. 

“Investors are really trying to weigh the tug-of-war of concerns between how soon will the Fed taper,” said Art Hogan, chief strategist at National Securities.

Shares fell in Asia, where the debt crisis at China Evergrande Group and Beijing’s latest push to rein in private industries hurt sentiment. Technology stocks slid as China slowed approvals for video games to enforce stricter criteria for content. 

Some of the main moves in markets: 


  • The S&P 500 fell 0.2 per cent as of 4:08 p.m. New York time
  • The Nasdaq 100 was little changed
  • The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.2 per cent
  • The MSCI World index fell 0.2 per cent



  • The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index rose 0.4 per cent
  • The euro fell 0.4 per cent to US$1.1767
  • The British pound fell 0.3 per cent to US$1.3795
  • The Japanese yen fell 0.3 per cent to 109.70 per dollar


  • The yield on 10-year Treasuries advanced four basis points to 1.33 per cent
  • Germany’s 10-year yield was little changed at -0.30 per cent
  • Britain’s 10-year yield advanced four basis points to 0.82 per cent


  • West Texas Intermediate crude was little changed
  • Gold futures fell 2.3 per cent to US$1,754.20 an ounce