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Stocks retreat ahead of a frenetic week

Trader Joseph Lawler, left, and specialist John McNierney

Trader Joseph Lawler, left, and specialist John McNierney work on the floor of the NYSE on  Oct. 24, 2017. Credit: AP / Richard Drew

Stocks retreated from their record highs on Monday, ahead of a frenetic week for markets.

Investors are waiting to learn who the next head of the Federal Reserve will be, what several of the world’s biggest central banks will decide on interest rates, and whether Apple and other big U.S. companies can keep piling their profits higher.

In the meantime, reports continued to show that the economy is strengthening and negotiations continued in Washington to cut income-tax rates.

Amid the many cross currents, the Standard & Poor’s 500 index fell 8.24 points, or 0.3 percent, to 2,572.83 from its record set on Friday. Losses for health care stocks, telecoms and other areas of the market overshadowed gains for technology companies and energy producers.

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 85.45, or 0.4 percent, to 23,348.74, and the Nasdaq composite dropped 2.30, or less than 0.1 percent, to 6,698.96.

Investors expect President Donald Trump to announce his choice for the next chair of the Federal Reserve by the end of the week. Jerome “Jay” Powell, a member of the Federal Reserve’s board, is Trump’s leading candidate to replace Janet Yellen, with an announcement planned for Thursday, according to senior administration officials.

The choice could have far-ranging effects on the markets, particularly if the new chair advocates a more aggressive policy in raising interest rates than Yellen has.

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