Wall Street Drifts Again in Mixed Trade

NEW YORK (AP) -- U.S. stocks are still largely stuck in place Wednesday as Wall Street continues to recalibrate following its sharp recent swings.

The S&P 500 was 0.2% higher and on track for a third straight day of quiet, mixed trading. Its movements have become much calmer after the index screamed to its best week of the year last week, which itself came after months of painful losses.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 56 points, or 0.2%, as of 9:45 a.m. Eastern time, and the Nasdaq composite was 0.1% higher.

Axon Enterprise jumped 5.7% after the maker of Tasers, body cameras and other equipment reported stronger profit for the latest quarter than analysts forecast. eBay sank 5.8% after its forecast for revenue for the last three months of 2023 fell short of analysts' expectations.

The reporting season for summertime profits is winding down, and the majority of companies has again been topping Wall Street's forecasts. That's usually the case, and it's offered some support for the stock market. But the big driver for stock price movements since the summer has been what yields are doing in the bond market.

The 10-year Treasury yield edged down to 4.56% from 4.57% late Tuesday, helping to impart calm across financial markets.

A swift rise in the 10-year yield that began in the summer had earlier knocked the S&P 500 down by more than 10% from its peak for the year. The 10-year yield briefly topped 5% to reach its highest level since 2007, as it caught up with the Federal Reserve's main interest rate, which is above 5.25% and at its highest level since 2001.

The Fed has jacked up rates in hopes of slowing the economy and hurting investment prices enough to put downward pressure on inflation and get it back to its 2% goal.

Last week, though, investors took comments from Fed Chair Jerome Powell to indicate that the central bank's hikes to interest rates may be done. He said the summer's jump in Treasury yields could substitute for further hikes to rates if they remain "persistent." That triggered a sharp easing in Treasury yields, which in turn helped stocks to rally.

A sharp drop in oil prices recently could take more pressure off inflation, which in turn could help the Fed feel more confident about holding rates instead of raising them further.

The price for a barrel of U.S. crude oil is back to where it was in July, and it slipped another 0.3% to $77.17. Brent crude, the international standard, fell 0.7% to $81.04.

Oil prices have been tumbling since topping $90 a little more than a month ago. The latest Israel-Hamas war raised concerns about potential disruptions to supplies, which made prices volatile for a while. But worries about demand are still high given faltering economies around the world, particularly in China.

Stock indexes fell 0.2% in Shanghai and 0.6% in Hong Kong, joining modest losses across much of the rest of Asia. Stocks were higher in Europe.