Stocks fall in morning trading, holding near record highs

Wednesday, April 7, 2021 | Damian J. Troise And Alex Veiga, AP Business Writers

In this Nov. 16, 2020 file photo a man wearing a mask passes the New York Stock Exchange in New York. Stocks are wavering in early trading on Wall Street, holding the market near record highs it set earlier in the week. The S&P 500 edged up 0.1% early Wednesday, April 7, 2021, and the Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed 0.2%. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File)

Stocks edged lower on Wall Street in morning trading Wednesday, easing further from their record highs as investors remain cautiously optimistic about the economic recovery.

Vaccine distribution has been ramping up and President Joe Biden has bumped up his deadline for states to make doses available to all adults by April 19. The vaccines are helping to fuel a recovery, but the virus is still very much a threat as variants are discovered and threaten additional lockdowns.

The S&P 500 was down 0.1% as of 11:39 a.m. Eastern. Nearly three-fourths of the companies in the benchmark index were lower, with industrials, materials and health care stocks among the decliners. Those losses kept gains in technology, communication and other companies in check. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 68 points, or 0.2%, to 33,361, while the Nasdaq slid 0.2%.

Bond yields fell after heading higher in the early going. The yield on the 10-year Treasury slipped to 1.64% from 1.65% late Tuesday. Rising yields have raised some concerns about inflation and its potential to stunt the economic recovery.

Traders will be looking ahead to the release later in the day of minutes from the Federal Reserve’s latest meeting on interest rate policy to watch for clues about the Fed’s thinking about the economy and how long it might wait before eventually raising rates.

The broader market has been mostly subdued since the S&P 500 reached another record high on Monday. Stocks within the index are just about evenly split between gainers and losers.

Analysts expect the recovery to continue, but they also expect the market remain choppy as investors shift money to companies and industries that stand to benefit from as the pandemic eases.

Carnival, which essentially shut down during the pandemic, rose 3.8% for one of the biggest gains in the S&P 500. Other cruise line operators also gained ground as they plan to restart operations.

In Europe, France's CAC 40 edged 0.1% higher, Germany's DAX fell 0.2%, and Britain's FTSE rose 1%. Markets in Asia were mixed.

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