LONDON – US stock indexes slipped on Friday with major technology firms weighing the most, while uncertainty over higher corporate taxes and an upcoming Federal Reserve meeting kept traders to the sidelines.
The Nasdaq was the worst performer among the main US indexes in early trade, as a batch of strong economic readings encouraged investors to pivot into growth-exposed sectors and out of tech this week.
At 09:56 am ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 106.41 points, or 0.31 percent, to 34,644.91, the S&P 500 lost 23.35 points, or 0.52 percent, to 4,450.40 and the Nasdaq Composite lost 82.92 points, or 0.55 percnet, to 15,099.00.
Meanwhile, world shares were heading for a weekly loss on global growth concerns.
MSCI’s world equity index was flat at 735.46, down 0.25 percent on the week. The index hit a record high of 749.16 on Sept 7.
MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan rose 0.27 percent but was on course to finish down 2.6 percent on the week, which would be its worst week in four.
The pan-European STOXX 600 index and the FTSE 100 both dipped 0.23 percent.
Stock market prices were expected to be erratic on Friday due to “quadruple witching” day, when four different futures and options contracts expire.
The Federal Reserve, facing a labor market that may be stalling or on the cusp of a surge, is expected next week to open the door to reducing its monthly bond purchases while tying any actual change to US job growth in September and beyond.
“There remains an underlying tension with concerns about the growth outlook and central bank tightening weighing on sentiment,” said Seema Shah, chief strategist at Principal Global Investors.
“Perhaps there is too much caution – although growth in the US and likely in Europe is slowing, it will still be at a solid pace – but the combination of slowing growth and tightening monetary policy will inevitably weigh on returns going forward.”
US stock futures, the S&P 500 e-minis fell 0.3 percent, after the S&P 500 index dropped 0.17 percent in the previous session.
However, stronger than expected US retail sales data on Thursday boosted the dollar, which held steady near the previous day’s three-week high against an index of currencies. The euro rose 0.12 percent to US$1.1776.
The yield on Germany’s 10-year government bond, the benchmark for the euro zone, was at -0.280 percent after rising as much as 3.5 basis points to a two-month high of -0.277 percent, after a Financial Times report suggested the European Central Bank expects to hit its 2 percent inflation target by 2025.
ECB governing council member Gabriel Makhlouf said on Friday he expected similar levels of inflation in the coming months, after a 3 percent rise in August.
The yield on benchmark 10-year Treasury notes was little changed at 1.3395 percent.
In Asia, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index and Chinese mainland blue chips rose 1 percent and Japan’s Nikkei gained 0.58 percent to head back towards a 31-year high hit on Monday.
US crude fell 0.56 percent to US$72.20 a barrel, and Brent crude dropped 0.41 percent to US$75.36 per barrel, as more supply slowly came back online in the US Gulf of Mexico following two hurricanes.
Gold was trading at US$1,759 per ounce, up 0.37 percent after falling 2.3 percent on Thursday as higher yields hurt the non-interest bearing metal.