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* Powell: Fed 'strongly committed' to inflation fight
* Energy shares hit as oil prices slide
* Defensives top-performing S&P sectors
* Dow Inc falls as brokerage downgrades to "underperform"
* Indexes down: Dow 0.15%, S&P 0.13%, Nasdaq 0.15%
June 22 (Reuters) - Wall Street's main indexes ended with
slim losses on Wednesday after choppy trading as energy shares
weighed and investors digested Federal Reserve Chair Jerome
Powell's comments on the central bank's aim to bring down
After opening lower, major U.S. indexes had erased losses
following Powell's testimony before a Senate committee, but then
they faded into the close.
Powell said the Fed is "strongly committed" to bringing down
inflation that is running at a 40-year high while policymakers
are not trying to cause a recession in the process.
Investors are trying to assess how far stocks could fall as
they weigh risks to the economy with the Fed hiking rates to
tamp down surging inflation. The S&P 500 earlier this month fell
over 20% from its January all-time high, confirming the common
definition of a bear market, with the benchmark index last week
logging its biggest weekly percentage drop since March 2020.
Markets continue to be volatile, said King Lip, chief
strategist at Baker Avenue Asset Management in San Francisco.
"Certainly we are not out of the woods yet... The concerns are
The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 47.12 points,
or 0.15%, to 30,483.13, the S&P 500 lost 4.9 points, or
0.13%, to 3,759.89 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped
16.22 points, or 0.15%, to 11,053.08.
The energy sector, which has been a strong performer
this year, fell 4.2% as oil prices slid. Declines in Exxon Mobil
, Chevron and Conocophillips were the
biggest individual drags on the S&P 500.
A 0.4% decline in the heavyweight technology sector
Defensive areas real estate, healthcare
and utilities were the top-gaining S&P 500 sectors.
Real estate rose 1.6%, healthcare gained 1.4% and utilities
In company news, Moderna Inc shares rose 4.7% after
the company said an updated version of its COVID-19 vaccine
generated a strong immune response against fast-spreading
Dow Inc shares slid 4.7% after Credit Suisse
downgraded the chemicals maker's stock to "underperform."
Declining issues outnumbered advancing ones on the NYSE by a
1.17-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 1.08-to-1 ratio favored decliners.
The S&P 500 posted one new 52-week highs and 39 new lows;
the Nasdaq Composite recorded nine new highs and 207 new lows.
About 12.2 billion shares changed hands in U.S. exchanges,
compared with the 12.5 billion daily average over the last 20
(Reporting by Lewis Krauskopf in New York, Devik Jain, Anisha
Sircar and Sruthi Shankar in Bengaluru and Boleslaw Lasocki in
Gdansk; Additional reporting by Karen Brettell in New York;
Editing by Cynthia Osterman)