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US stock indexes mixed as interest rates take a pause

US stock indexes mixed as interest rates take a pause

October 10th, 2018 in Business

FILE- This Dec. 21, 2016, file photo shows the New York Stock Exchange. The U.S. stock market opens at 9:30 a.m. EDT on Tuesday, Oct. 9, 2018. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File)

NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. stock indexes ended Tuesday nearly where they began, as interest rates let off the accelerator following their sharp rise last week. However, the modest moves for indexes masked some roiling underneath.

Raw-material producers plunged on worries that inflation and weaker demand are eating into their profits. On the opposite end were technology stocks and other sectors, which recovered some of the sharp losses caused by last week’s rapid rise in interest rates.

Altogether, the crosscurrents left the S&P 500 down 4.09 points, or 0.1 percent, at 2,880.34. It had waffled between small gains and losses for most of the day, and roughly three stocks fell in the index for every two that rose.

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 56.21, or 0.2 percent, to 26,430.57, and the Nasdaq composite added 2.07, or less than 0.1 percent, to 7,738.02.

At the center of the movements were interest rates, which sway how quickly the economy grows, how expensive it is for companies and households to borrow and how high a price investors are willing to pay for stocks. The yield on the 10-year Treasury dipped to 3.20 percent from 3.22 late Friday in the first day of trading after bond markets were closed for a holiday on Monday.

The pause came after bond yields surged last week following several encouraging reports on the economy. The 10-year Treasury yield was just 3.05 percent last Tuesday, and the speed of the recent rise has been more concerning to investors than the level. If rates go high enough, they can hurt profits for companies and drive investors away from stocks and into bonds.