On Monday, Wall Street fell, drove down by financial companies, as Fed officials did minimal work to ease investors nerves about an interest rate hike as early as next week. A number of top Fed officials have suggested at a possible raise at the central bank’s next policy-setting meeting on Sept. 20-21. The most recent was Atlanta Fed Bank President Dennis Lockhart who commented on Monday a “serious discussion” was required. Despite, Minneapolis Fed President Neel Kashkari indicated to CNBC that he saw little urgency to take action given the health of the economy.
Six out of the 10 major S&P 500 indexes declined, with financials .SPSY dropping for the third consecutive day. The largest Wall Street banks were down between 0.7% and 1.5%. The sector, which would profit from higher rates, has increased 3.2 percent since Aug. 26, when Fed Chair Janet Yellen mentioned the case for higher rates had become stronger. While the labor market continue to tighten, inflation has remained below the Fed’s 2 percent target. Traders have waged in a 24 percent rate increase in September, and a 59.2 percent probability in December, reported by CME Group’s FedWatch tool.
On Monday morning, the Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 47.84 points, or 0.26%, at 18,037.61. The S&P 500 declined 4.45 points, or 0.21%, at 2,123.36. And the Nasdaq Composite fell 10.77 points, or 0.21%, at 5,115.14.
The increasing expectations of a September rate hike had drove the three major U.S. stock indexes falling on Friday in their worst drop since the Brexit vote. That distanced the benchmark S&P 500 index from its record highs, which it has been clocking since July when expectations of a rate hike this year were muted. Declining issues outnumbered advancing ones on the NYSE by 2,188 to 492. On the Nasdaq, 1,610 issues dropped and 645 increased. The S&P 500 index showed no new 52-week highs and four new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded two new highs and 19 new lows.