US stocks finished lower on Wednesday after early gains, with investors remaining cautious after the recent market slide and hedging their bets.
Technology and energy sectors took a beating, while financials and industrials helped provide some support for the key indexes.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average ended down 19.42 points at 24,893.35, while the S&P 500 index closed 0.5 percent lower at 2,681.66. The Nasdaq Composite was down 0.9 percent at 7,051.98.
“Obviously there’s a lot of concerned and nervous people. You might have had day traders trying to get out at the end of the day. Who knows what tomorrow brings,” Stephen Massocca, senior vice president at Wedbush Securities in San Francisco, told Reuters.
Wednesday’s trading lacked the wild swings of the prior two sessions, but the Dow moved in a roughly 500-point range, more than three times the average daily swing over the past year.
“There are going to be people that are going to be selling into any kind of strength and then you are going to have some value-conscious investors taking advantage of these multiple 100-point drops,” said Alan Lancz, president of Alan B. Lancz & Associates, an investment advisory firm in Toledo.
”Now that everybody is on edge, you’re going to see the volatility swing in both directions,” Reuters quoted Lancz as saying.
On Monday, the Dow suffered its largest single-day percentage loss in more than six years, sparking a wave of selling in markets around the world.
Investors were weighing whether the sharp swings were the start of a deeper move down or just clearing the way before a resumption of the aging bull market, which would turn nine on March 9, Reuters noted.
The market’s slide came amid concerns about rising bond yields and higher inflation, reinforced by Friday’s January US jobs report that prompted worries the Federal Reserve will raise benchmark interest rates at a faster pace than expected this year.
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