US stocks fall as market grapples with growth fears

VIDEO: REUTERS
Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, March 26, 2019.
Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, March 26, 2019.PHOTO: REUTERS

NEW YORK (AFP) - Wall Street stocks declined on Wednesday (March 27) following a choppy session as the market grappled with lingering worries over the economic growth outlook.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average dipped 0.1 per cent to finish at 25,625.59, about 200 points above its session lows earlier in the day.

But the other major indexes saw bigger declines: The broad-based S&P 500 shed 0.5 per cent ending at 2,805.37, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index fell 0.6 per cent to 7,643.38.

Investors have been weighing how seriously to view a big drop in 10-year US Treasury bond yields in recent session, traditionally a sign of medium- and long-term economic weakness.

The yield on the 10-year US Treasury note on Wednesday fell to its lowest level since December 2017.

"Buyers showed up during the second part of the session," said Adam Sarhan of 50 Park Investment, who considers the market's jitters over bond yields overblown.

But "if the bond market is right, then the stock market can go down further," Sarhan added.

Among individual companies, Boeing rose 1 per cent as it unveiled proposed changes to flight software on its 737 Max aircraft, which have been grounded following two deadly plane crashes in five months.

Boeing's plan came as the head of the Federal Aviation Administration, which must approve the fixes, faced tough questioning from Congress concerning its certification of the planes.

Southwest Airlines, which has grounded all 34 of its Boeing 737 Max 8 planes, said flight cancelations from that and other factors would result in US$150 million (S$200 million) in lost revenues in the first quarter.

But shares of the predominantly domestic US carrier rose 2.2 per cent after the company said customer demand remained strong. Other carriers, including United Continental and Delta Air Lines, also rose.