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NEW YORK, June 29 (Reuters) - The S&P 500 ended a seesaw
session slightly down on Wednesday as investors limped toward
the finish line of a downbeat month, a dismal quarter, and the
worst first-half for the S&P 500 since President Richard Nixon's
The three major U.S. stock indexes spent much of the session
wavering between red and green.
"The markets struggling to find direction," said Megan
Horneman, chief investment officer at Verdence Capital Advisors
in Hunt Valley, Maryland. "We had disappointing data, and the
markets are waiting for earnings season, when we'll get more
clarity" with respect to future earnings and an economic
Market leaders Apple, Amazon.com and
Microsoft provided the upside muscle, while
economically sensitive chips small caps and
transports were underperforming the broader market.
With the end of the month and the second quarter a day away,
the benchmark S&P 500 has set a course for its biggest
first-half percentage drop since 1970.
As for the Nasdaq, it was on its way to its worst-ever
first-half performance, while the Dow appeared on track for its
biggest January-June percentage drop since the financial crisis.
All three indexes were bound to post their second straight
quarterly declines. That last time that happened was in 2015.
"We have a central bank that has had to pivot from a
decades-old easy money policy to a tightening cycle," Horneman
added. "This is new for a lot of investors."
"Were seeing a repricing for what we expect to be a very
different interest rate environment going forward."
According to preliminary data, the S&P 500 lost 3.13
points, or 0.08%, to end at 3,817.90 points, while the Nasdaq
Composite lost 4.62 points, or 0.04%, to 11,176.92. The
Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 73.06 points, or 0.24%,
Benchmark Treasury yields have risen by over 1.606
percentage points so far in 2022, their biggest first-half jump
since 1984. That explains why interest rate sensitive growth
stocks have plunged over 26% year-to-date.
Federal Reserve officials in recent days have reiterated
their determination to rein in inflation, setting expectations
for their second consecutive 75 basis point interest rate hike
in July, while expressing confidence that monetary tightening
will not tip the economy into recession.
In economic news, U.S. Commerce Department data showed GDP
contracted slightly more than previously stated in the first
three months of the year, with consumer spending, which accounts
for about 70% of the economy, contributing substantially less
than originally reported.
This follows Tuesday's dire consumer confidence report,
which showed consumer expectations sinking to their lowest level
since March 2013.
Second-quarter reporting season remains several weeks away,
and 130 of the companies in the S&P 500 have pre-announced. Of
those, 45 have been positive and 77 have been negative,
resulting in a negative/positive ratio of 1.7 stronger than the
first quarter but weaker than a year ago, according to Refinitiv
What will investors be listening for in those earnings
"Margin pressures, thats the big concern, pricing
pressures, scaling back plans for capex because of the slowdown,
and if they see any improvement in the supply chain," Horneman
Packaged food company General Mills Inc jumped after
its sales beat estimates.
Bed Bath & Beyond Inc tumbled following the
retailer's announcement that it had replaced chief executive
officer Mark Tritton, hoping to reverse a slump.
(Reporting by Stephen Culp; additional reporting by Amruta
Khandekar and Shreyashi Sanyal in Bangalore; Editing by David