U.S. stock indexes veered lower for the close of trading Wednesday, posting modest declines for the second day in a row.
ON WALL STREET: At the close, the Standard & Poor’s 500 index was down 8.6 points, about 0.4 percent, at nearly 2,345.
The Dow Jones industrial average lost 59.4 points, about 0.3 percent, to 20,591.9. The Nasdaq composite slipped 30.6 points, about 0.5 percent, to 5,836.2.
Bond prices rose. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note closed at 2.296 percent.
GOLD ON 5-MONTH HIGH: The precious metal, often sought out by investors in times of global uncertainty, rose $11.60 to close at $1,285.80 an ounce.
OIL PRICES: Benchmark U.S. crude slipped 50 cents to close at $52.90 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. In London on the Intercontinental Exchange Europe, Brent crude, the standard for international oil prices, gave up 58 cents to close at $55.65 a barrel.
GLOBAL GLOOM: Investors are cautious as world events this week complicate the investment outlook. Tensions are rising over North Korea, which threatened the U.S. against making any military moves after Washington ordered an aircraft carrier to head toward the divided Korean Peninsula. U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is in Moscow with the aim of getting Russia to ditch its ally Syria following last week’s chemical attack. France’s election later in the month is also giving investors a reason to hunker down and avoid taking any big risks.
ANALYST’S VIEW: “Investors seem to be pretty content to just try to wait out and see if any of these potentially progrowth polices are going to be implemented in Washington,” said Scott Wren, senior global equity strategist at Wells Fargo Investment Institute. “Are we going to get some tax reform or not? Are we going to see a meaningful amount of infrastructure spending?”
SAFETY IN YEN? The dollar fell to a five-month low against the yen as investors seeking security amid global uncertainty piled into the Japanese currency. The dollar weakened to 109.58 yen from 109.69 yen late Tuesday, the first time it has broken below the 110 level since mid-November. The euro strengthened to $1.0611 from $1.0608.