Dec 9 (Reuters) – U.S. stock indexes slipped on Thursday after three straight days of gains following positive updates on the Omicron coronavirus variant, with focus now turning towards economic data for clues on the Federal Reserve’s policy decision.
Wall Street’s main indexes were supported this week by positive updates about COVID-19 vaccines, with the most recent data showing Pfizer and BioNTech’s shot offered some protection against the new Omicron variant.
“We’re looking at a little bit of a pullback here, it’s more based on profit-taking after several days of solid gains. And the Pfizer announcement the other day came as a big relief for investors,” said Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at Spartan Capital Securities in New York.
Markets have seesawed since late November when the World Health Organization categorized the latest variant as that ‘of concern’, with investors worried Omicron could upend a global recovery at a time when the Fed has signaled a speedier tapering of monetary stimulus to tackle surging inflation.
After falling as much as 5.24% since a record high hit on Nov. 22, the S&P 500 index (.SPX) has recouped nearly all its declines, now trading 1.2% below its all-time peak.
All eyes are now on consumer prices index data due on Friday. A hotter-than-expected reading could strengthen the case for aggressive policy tightening ahead of the U.S. central bank’s meeting next week.
The Fed will raise rates in the third quarter of next year, earlier than expected a month ago, according to economists in a Reuters poll who mostly said the risk was that a hike comes even sooner. read more
At 10:00 a.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (.DJI) was down 115.63 points, or 0.32%, at 35,639.12, the S&P 500 (.SPX) was down 15.09 points, or 0.32%, at 4,686.12, and the Nasdaq Composite (.IXIC) was down 67.42 points, or 0.43%, at 15,719.56.
GameStop Corp (GME.N) fell 5.5% after the video game retailer said it was issued a subpoena by the U.S. securities regulator back in August for documents on an investigation into its share trading activity. read more
Data showed initial claims for state unemployment benefits tumbled 43,000 to 184,000, dropping to the lowest level in more than 52 years last week as labor market conditions continued to tighten amid an acute shortage of workers. read more
Declining issues outnumbered advancers for a 2.84-to-1 ratio on the NYSE and for a 2.12-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.
The S&P index recorded nine new 52-week highs and one new low, while the Nasdaq recorded 20 new highs and 23 new lows.