US stock indexes wobble a day after biggest drop since May

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A man walks past a bank’s electronic board showing the Hong Kong share index at Hong Kong Stock Exchange in Hong Kong Tuesday, Sept. 21, 2021. Asian shares declined Tuesday, with Tokyo down 2% as worries about heavily indebted Chinese real estate developers weighed on sentiment. (AP Photo/Vincent Yu)

Stock indexes were wobbling between small gains and losses in afternoon trading on Wall Street Tuesday following a sharp pullback a day earlier.

The S&P 500 was up less than 0.1% as of 2:36 p.m. Eastern, giving up most of an early gain. The Dow Jones Industrial Average slipped 10 points, or less than 0.1%, to 33,959 and the Nasdaq rose 0.3%.

More than 60% of stocks were down in the benchmark S&P 500 index, with industrial and communications companies accounting for a big slice of the pullback.

Gains by health care companies helped keep some of the decline in check. Johnson & Johnson rose 0.5% after reporting that a booster of its one-shot coronavirus vaccine provides a stronger immune response months after people receive a first dose.

Technology companies also made gains in a reversal from Monday, when the sector slumped. Nvidia was up 0.8%.

The yield on the 10-year Treasury edged higher to 1.32% from 1.31% late Monday.

“It’s a bit of a pause and the market is waiting for the Federal Reserve to see what they have to say tomorrow,” said Rob Haworth, senior investment strategist at U.S. Bank Wealth Management.

European markets were higher, and Asian markets mostly rose. Chinese markets remained closed for a holiday.

The market sell-off on Monday was prompted in part by worries about heavily indebted Chinese real estate developers and the damage they could do if they default and send ripple effects through markets. That added to a wide range of concerns hovering over investors, including the highly contagious delta variant as well as higher prices squeezing business and consumers.

Wall Street is also gauging how the recovery’s slowdown will impact the Fed’s policies that have helped support the market and economy. The central bank will release a policy statementon Wednesday, which will be closely watched for any signals on how it will eventually reduce its bond purchases that have helped keep interest rates low.

Several companies are making solid gains after giving investors encouraging financial updates. Ride-hailing company Uber jumped 12.6% after telling investors that it could post an adjusted profit this quarter. Equipment rental supplier Herc Holdings rose 4.7% following a solid long-term growth forecast.

Supply chain problems, which have been hurting a broad range of industries, weighed on several companies. Homebuilder Lennar slipped 0.4% after home deliveries for the third quarter fell short of analysts’ forecasts because of supply chain problems.

Restaurant operator Cracker Barrel fell 2.7% after reporting weak fiscal fourth-quarter financial results.

Universal Music jumped 35.7% in its debut on Amsterdam’s stock exchange.

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