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Stock market today: Wall Street drifts as the pressure keeps mounting from the bond market

A street light brightens a Wall Street sign outside the New York Stock Exchange, Oct. 3, 2022, in New York. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews) A street light brightens a Wall Street sign outside the New York Stock Exchange, Oct. 3, 2022, in New York. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)

A sluggish day for stocks on Monday is keeping September on track to be the worst month of the year for Wall Street.

The S&P 500 rose 0.2% in afternoon trading, coming off its worst week in six months. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was little changed at 33,950, as of 1:56 p.m. Eastern time, and the Nasdaq composite was 0.2% higher.

Stocks have struggled recently as the realization sinks in that the Federal Reserve will likely keep interest rates high well into next year. The Fed wants to ensure high inflation gets back down to its target, and it said last week it will likely cut interest rates in 2024 by less than traders expected. Its main interest rate is already at its highest level since 2001.

A growing understanding that rates will stay higher for longer has pushed yields in the bond market up to their highest levels in more than a decade. That in turn makes investors less willing to pay high prices for all kinds of investments, particularly those seen as the most expensive or making their owners wait the longest for big future growth.

The yield on the 10-year Treasury rose to 4.53% from 4.44% late Friday and is near its highest level since 2007. That's up sharply from about 3.50% in May and from 0.50% about three years ago.

"Stocks digest gradual, growth driven increases in interest rates far better than rapid increases driven by other factors such as inflation or Fed policy," Goldman Sachs strategists led by David Kostin wrote in a report.

Higher yields are at the head of a long line of concerns weighing on Wall Street. Economies around the world are looking shaky, oil prices have jumped by US$20 per barrel since June and the resumption of U.S. student-loan repayments may weaken what's been the economy's greatest strength, spending by households.

In the near term, the U.S. government may be set for another shutdown amid more political squabbles on Capitol Hill. But Wall Street has managed its way through previous shutdowns, and "history shows that past ones haven't had much of an impact on the market," according to Chris Larkin, managing director of trading and investing at E-Trade from Morgan Stanley.

On Wall Street, stocks of energy companies rose to some of the market's biggest gains. Crude oil prices regressed a bit Monday, but only after earlier rallying to roughly US$90 per barrel. Exxon Mobil gained 1.3%, and ConocoPhillips rose 1.7%.

Higher oil prices mean more pressure on travel-related companies that count fuel among their biggest costs. Southwest Airlines sank 1.5%, and Norwegian Cruise Line fell 1.8%.

Stocks of media and entertainment companies were mixed after unionized screenwriters reached a tentative deal on Sunday to end their historic strike. No deal yet exists for striking actors.

Netflix rose 1%, while The Walt Disney Co. slipped 0.4%. Warner Brothers Discover dropped 2.6% for one of the biggest losses in the S&P 500.

Amazon rose 1.8% after it announced an investment of up to US$4 billion in Anthropic, as it takes a minority stake in the artificial intelligence startup. It's the latest Big Tech company to pour money into AI in the race to profit from opportunities that the latest generation of technology is set to fuel.

In stock markets abroad, indexes slumped sharply across Europe and much of Asia. France's CAC 40 fell 0.9%, and Germany's DAX lost 1%.

In China, troubled property developer China Evergrande sank nearly 22% after announcing it was unable to raise further debt due to an investigation into one of its affiliates. That might imperil plans for restructuring its more than US$300 billion in debt.

China's faltering economic recovery has already removed a big engine of growth for the world.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng lost 1.8%, while stocks in Shanghai fell 0.5%.


AP Business Writers Matt Ott and Elaine Kurtenbach contributed.


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