US Stocks Edge Lower; Oil Prices Rise

NEW YORK (AP) -- Stocks edged lower on Wall Street Thursday and trading was choppy as investors remain cautious amid concerns about economic growth and rising interest rates.

The S&P 500 fell 0.5% as of 10:25 a.m. Eastern. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 251 points, or 0.8%, to 32,559 and the Nasdaq fell 0.1%.

Health care stocks had some of the biggest losses. Drug developer Eli Lilly fell 3%. Companies that rely on direct consumer spending and some big industrial firms gained ground. Expedia Group rose 1.9% and Boeing rose 3.6%.

Technology stocks, whose lofty values tend to give the broader market a harder push higher or lower, swayed between broad gains and losses. Microsoft fell 2.7% after cutting its financial forecasts for the current quarter, citing unfavorable changes in exchange rates.

Small company stocks rose. The Russell 2000 gained 0.4%. Bond yields were relatively stable. The yield on the 10-year Treasury, which helps set interest rates on mortgages and other loans, remained at 2.93% from late Wednesday.

Crude oil prices rose slightly after the OPEC oil cartel and allied producing countries including Russia said they will raise production by 648,000 barrels per day in July and August.

Rising energy prices have been feeding inflation, which is already at its highest levels in four decades. U.S. gasoline prices hit another record high Thursday, with the average price at the pump costing $4.71 per gallon, according to motoring club federation AAA.

Investors remain focused on the balance between inflation, rising interest rates and economic growth. The Federal Reserve is being closely watched as it tries to temper the impact from inflation by raising interest rates from historic lows during the pandemic.

Several economic reports on Wednesday bolstered expectations for the Fed to keep raising interest rates aggressively. Wall Street is concerned that the Fed could slow economic growth too much and potentially send the economy into a recession.

High inflation is meanwhile eating into corporate profits, while the war in Ukraine and COVID-19 restrictions in China have also weighed on markets.