Wall Street falls, attention turns to inflation and oil – 05/31/2022 at 11:00 p.m


by Sinead Carew and Anisha Sircar

(Reuters) – The New York Stock Exchange closed lower on Tuesday after an indecisive session marked by swings in oil prices and market reactions to comments by a Federal Reserve official that suggested a longer-than-expected tightening of monetary policy in the United States.

The Dow Jones index fell 0.67% or 222.84 points to 32,990.12 points.

The S&P 500, the broader and most important benchmark for investors, fell 26.09 points, or 0.63%, to 4,132.15 points.

For its part, the heavily tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite fell 49.74 points (-0.41%) to 12,081.39 points.

After last week’s rally ended a long streak of weekly declines, the S&P 500 and Dow ended the month with tiny gains, while the Nasdaq fell 2.05%.

Oil prices fell, dragging energy stocks lower after the Wall Street Journal reported that the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) is considering suspending Russia from supply through collective framework agreements, which could encourage some countries to ramp up production.

Fed policy continued to be the focus of investor concerns as Fed Chair Jerome Powell met with Joe Biden on Tuesday to discuss high inflation. During their meeting, the President of the United States, quoted by his chief economic adviser Brian Deese, pledged to respect the independence of the Federal Reserve.

On that front, investors mostly stuck by Monday’s statements from Christopher Waller. This Fed Governor has decided that the Federal Reserve should be prepared to raise interest rates by half a point at each of its monetary policy meetings from now on until inflation is clearly mastered.

These comments weaken the recently held scenario of the Fed taking a pause in monetary tightening from September.

In terms of individual stocks, the New York-listed Canadian gold producer Yamana Gold fell 3.7 percent over South African Gold Fields (-23.4 percent) in favor of a $6.7 billion takeover bid.

(Report by Sinéad Carew, Anisha Sircar, Devik Jain and Sruthi Shankar in Bangalore, French version by Bertrand Boucey)

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