U.S. stocks bounced up and down and finished mostly lower Wednesday as technology companies slumped. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross discussed a more nationalist trade stance, with uncertain effects for the market. The dollar, already at three-year lows, got even weaker.
Stocks got off to a strong start, but technology companies took heavier losses as the day wore on, led by chipmakers after Texas Instruments gave a disappointing forecast for the current quarter. Apple also fell.
The dollar sagged against other currencies after Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the currency’s decline is good for U.S. exporters, suggesting he isn’t likely to try to stop its slide.
Mnuchin and Ross are at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. Mnuchin’s comments sent the price of gold and silver higher, as investors often buy precious metals when they’re concerned about inflation or softness in the dollar. Weakness in the dollar usually helps companies that export a lot of goods from the U.S., but it can hurt smaller companies by driving up the costs of imported components.
The Standard & Poor’s 500 index lost 0.1 percent, to 2,837.54. The Dow Jones industrial average rose 41.31 points, or 0.2 percent, to 26,252.12. The Nasdaq composite fell 0.6 percent, to 7,415.06. — AP