U.S. stocks close mixed as debt ceiling deal goes to Congress

  • World
  • Wednesday, 31 May 2023

NEW YORK, May 30 (Xinhua) -- U.S. stocks ended mixed on Tuesday as investors weighed a tentative U.S. debt ceiling deal that needs Congress approval as well as the potential for another interest rate hike in June.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 50.56 points, or 0.15 percent, to 33,042.78. The S&P 500 added negligible 0.07 points, or 0.00 percent, to 4,205.52. The Nasdaq Composite Index increased 41.74 points, or 0.32 percent, to 13,017.43.

Seven of the 11 primary S&P 500 sectors ended in red, with consumer staples and energy leading the laggards by losing 1.08 percent and 0.94 percent, respectively. Meanwhile, consumer discretionary and technology led the gainers by rising 0.76 percent and 0.63 percent, respectively.

Investors are weighing the likelihood of Congress passing a tentative debt ceiling deal to avert a catastrophic default. U.S. President Joe Biden and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy reached a compromise deal on the debt ceiling over Memorial Day weekend, with the Congress set to vote on the proposed bill this week.

At a time when bipartisan support is needed for the proposed bill to pass, the agreement now faces a tough path in the House, with some Republicans on Tuesday threatening to oppose it. Some hard-line lawmakers even threatened to exact revenge.

The looming deadline for the U.S. debt ceiling has been a significant concern for markets. In similar standoffs in both 2011 and 2013, the Congress raised the debt limit only at the last minute, said Seth Carpenter, chief global economist at Morgan Stanley. "Even after the Congress raises the debt limit, it will not quite be the time to breathe a heavy sigh of relief."

The Federal Open Market Committee has around 65 percent probability of raising federal fund rates by another 25 basis points in June, higher than the 28 percent probability one week earlier, according to data released by the CME FedWatch Tool on Tuesday.

At an event by the National Association for Business Economics on Tuesday, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond President Thomas Barkin said that inflation needs to be brought down by bringing demand down. "However I look at it (price growth), it just looks like inflation is too high."

The debt ceiling issue is coming to an end, said Craig Erlam, senior market analyst at OANDA, a supplier of online multi-asset trading services. "We can now get back to focusing on the actual risks facing markets and the economy this year, being inflation and interest rates, and whether optimism over the end of the tightening cycle was premature."

Meanwhile, consumer confidence fell to 102.3 in May, the lowest level since last November, from an upwardly revision to 103.7 in April, The Conference Board said on Tuesday, suggesting Americans remained gloomy about the economy.

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