The S&P 500 ended up slightly on Monday after two days of declines, though simmering tensions between the United States and North Korea kept investors on edge and a decline in the price of crude oil weighed on energy shares.
The attention is now on the Fed’s Jackson Hole meeting and any comments made there by Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen and other global central bankers. The meeting is due to start later this week.
Investors are angling for the slightest hint on where monetary policy is headed. Fed Vice Chair William Dudley, who has in the past taken a more dovish approach to policymaking, earlier this month said the fact that financial conditions have recently eased despite Fed rate increases is a reason to keep plans to tighten policy in place.
The United States and South Korea began long-planned joint military exercises on Monday, heightening tensions with North Korea, which called the drills a “reckless” step toward nuclear conflict.
Tensions between the United States and North Korea and turmoil in the White House have caused stocks to sell off in the past two weeks.
Stock futures trading volume fell during the two hours that people left their offices to get a glimpse of the first total solar eclipse to unfold across the country in nearly a century.
The S&P 500 energy index was down 0.6 percent, leading sector declines in the S&P 500, after crude oil prices fell nearly 2 percent, pulling back from last week’s rally.
While the benchmark S&P 500 index is still up 13.5 percent since the election, it had fallen 2.1 percent in the last two weeks. That’s the most since the two weeks before the election.
The Dow ended above its 50-day moving average after briefly falling below it during the session, while the S&P 500 remained below the 50-day technical level.
Shares of sporting goods retailers took a hit after analysts downgraded ratings on Nike, Foot Locker and other companies. Nike’s shares fell 2.4 percent, while Foot Locker shares slid 7.4 percent.
Johnson Controls rose 3.3 percent to $38.27, among the top S&P 500 gainers, after saying its CEO change would happen earlier than announced.
Herbalife rose 9.8 percent after the nutritional supplement maker said it would buy back $600 million of shares after ending talks to be taken private.
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