Wall Street Drifts; Central Banks Hike Rates

NEW YORK (AP) -- Stocks are drifting on Wall Street as central banks cranked up interest rates in their ongoing fight against inflation.

The S&P 500 slipped 0.1% in morning trading Thursday. The majority of stocks in the benchmark index were slipping, but gains from some big technology stocks countered losses elsewhere.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 82 points, or 0.2%, to 33,875 and the Nasdaq rose 0.1% as of 10:46 a.m. Eastern.

The Bank of England raised its main interest rate by a half a percentage point to a 15-year high of 5%. Banks in Norway, Switzerland and Turkey also raised borrowing rates. The interest rate hikes come a day after Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell told Congress that he believes inflation still isn't under control.

The Fed held interest rates steady at its June meeting after raising rates aggressively throughout 2022 and into 2023 to tame inflation that had reached record levels. Inflation has been slowly cooling, but the Fed has signaled that it may have to raise rates two more times this year as it tries to push inflation down to its stated goal of 2%.

Powell appeared before a House of Representatives committee on Wednesday and will appear before a Senate committee later Thursday.

Central banks have been raising interest rates to make borrowing more difficult and slow economic growth in order to stifle inflation. The strategy risks going too far in stalling growth and dragging economies into a recession. Economists and analysts have been warning that the U.S. could slip into a recession before 2023 ends, but resilient consumer spending and a strong jobs market have been bolstering the economy.

High interest rates, though, have slowed other parts of the U.S. economy, particularly the manufacturing and housing sectors, and helped cause three high-profile failures in the U.S. banking system. The banking industry remains under pressure, even after the federal government acted quickly to provide support.

Bond yields rose. The yield on the 10-year Treasury rose to 3.77% from 3.73% late Wednesday.

Benchmarks in Europe fell following the most recent rate increases. Britain's FTSE 100 slipped 0.8%. The latest interest rate increase from the Bank of England was more than analysts had anticipated and marked its 13th rate hike in a row in its effort to combat stubbornly high inflation.

France's CAC 40 shed 0.8% and Germany's DAX fell 0.2%.

Markets in Asia were mostly mixed and were closed in Hong Kong and Shanghai for the Dragon Boat Festival, a national holiday.

Wall Street has little economic data in the U.S. to look forward to for the remainder of the week. The Labor Department reported the number of Americans applying for unemployment benefits remained elevated last week, a possible sign that the Fed's rate hikes are beginning to cool a surprisingly resilient labor market.

Several companies made big moves on a mix of news. Spirit Aerosystems, a major supplier to the world's largest aircraft manufacturers, slumped 11.2%. It is suspending operations at a critical Kansas plant after union workers there rejected a proposed four-year contract and authorized a strike.

Office furniture maker Steelcase rose 7.3% after reporting strong financial results.