Stocks fell Tuesday, erasing strong gains from a rally a day earlier. Utilities and consumer goods companies fell the most. The losses were broad. Nine of the 10 sectors of the Standard & Poor’s 500 index are lower.
ON WALL STREET: At the close, the Dow Jones industrial average was down 180.7 points, about 1 percent, at nearly 17,530. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index slipped 19.5 points about 1 percent, to 2,047.2, and the Nasdaq composite gave up 59.7 points, about 1.3 percent, to 4,715.7.
OIL PRICES. As markets shut down, the price of U.S. benchmark crude oil was up 77 cents at $48.49 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. In London, the price of the international standard Brent crude was up 38 cents at $49.35 a barrel.
CONSUMER PRICES: Consumer prices posted their biggest jump in more than three years last month as costs at the gas pump continued to rise, the U.S. Labor Department said Tuesday. But underlying inflation slowed in April for the second straight month, providing conflicting signals for Federal Reserve officials weighing whether the economy is strong enough for another increase in a key interest rate.
U.S. IN FOCUS: U.S. interest rate policy will be a key driver for markets this week. In addition to planned remarks from several Federal Reserve officials, the Fed is scheduled to release minutes of its last meeting on Wednesday. Investors will be looking for hints on central bank plans for raising interest rates.
MAKING MORE THINGS: U.S. industrial production posted the biggest increase in April since November 2014 after dropping the previous two months. Industrial output, which includes output at factories, mines and utilities, rose 0.7 percent from March. Still, production is modest. Factories are operating at 75.3 percent of capacity, well below their long-run average.
ANALYST’S OPINION: “We’ve got an economy in slowdown mode, with an increase in inflation,” said James Abate, chief investment officer at Centre Funds. “That is the worst possible situation.”