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Important information: The value of investments can go down as well as up so you may get back less than you invest. Investors should note that the views expressed may no longer be current and may have already been acted upon. This is a third-party news feed and may not reflect Fidelity’s views.

US open: Stocks trade lower ahead of FOMC minutes

(Sharecast News) - Wall Street stocks were in the red early on Wednesday following a mixed first session for 2024 saw the Nasdaq Composite turn its worst daily decline in almost three months. As of 1530 GMT, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 0.55% at 37,507.62, while the S&P 500 slipped 0.62% to 4,713.57 and the Nasdaq Composite came out the gate 0.86% weaker at 14,639.38.

The Dow opened 207.42 points lower on Wednesday, more than erasing modest gains recorded in the previous session.

Wednesday's primary focus will be minutes from the Federal Reserve's December policy meeting, due out at 1900 GMT, as well as remarks from Richmond Federal Reserve president Tom Barkin that hinted that the US economy was probably heading for a soft landing but indicated that geopolitical tensions meant a cautious approach was still needed by policymakers.

Barkin said interest rate hikes remain "on the table" even though officials at their most recent meeting in December indicated that this round of policy tightening was probably over as inflation continued to fall.

"We're making real progress," said Barkin. "Now, everyone is talking about the potential for a soft landing, where inflation completes its journey back to normal levels while the economy stays healthy. And you can see the case for that."

Also in focus, US Treasury yields rose as investors grew cautious regarding the Federal Reserve's potential rate cuts. The ten-year Treasury yield was last up by 5.7 basis points to 4.001%, while its two-year Treasury yield was last trading at 4.368%.

On the macro front, the manufacturing downturn in the US eased a little more than expected in December, according to the Institute for Supply Management's purchasing managers' index, which increased by 0.7 points to 47.4, up from 46.7 in November and the highest reading since September. While this was the 14th straight month in negative territory - indicated by any reading below 50 - economists had expected a smaller increase to 47.1.

Elsewhere, US job openings decreased by 62,000 in November, hitting their lowest level in almost two years, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. November's job openings and labour turnover statistics survey came in at 8.79m, below consensus estimates for a reading of 8.85m.

On another note, US mortgage applications sank by 10.7% in the week ended 29 December, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association, the fastest weekly decline seen since February and despite lower Treasury yields and mortgage rates. Applications to refinance a mortgage crashed 18.1%, following a 0.1% drop a month earlier, while applications to purchase a new home slipped 7.6% to fully erase the 2.4% increase seen a week earlier.

Reporting by Iain Gilbert at Sharecast.com

Dow Jones - Risers

Verizon Communications Inc. (VZ) $39.48 1.66% Merck & Co. Inc. (MRK) $114.95 1.38% Amgen Inc. (AMGN) $300.74 1.13% Unitedhealth Group Inc. (UNH) $543.36 0.75% Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) $160.75 0.49% Travelers Company Inc. (TRV) $192.24 0.48% Chevron Corp. (CVX) $150.04 0.46% Coca-Cola Co. (KO) $60.03 0.19% Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) $371.55 0.18% McDonald's Corp. (MCD) $297.35 0.08%

Dow Jones - Fallers

Walgreens Boots Alliance, Inc. (WBA) $25.77 -3.30% Caterpillar Inc. (CAT) $284.17 -2.92% Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (GS) $378.71 -2.47% 3M Co. (MMM) $107.52 -2.25% Boeing Co. (BA) $247.69 -1.62% Nike Inc. (NKE) $104.76 -1.50% Salesforce.Com Inc. (CRM) $252.72 -1.48% Intel Corp. (INTC) $47.10 -1.45% Home Depot Inc. (HD) $339.37 -1.43% Dow Chemical Co. (DOW) $54.41 -1.43%

S&P 500 - Risers

Marathon Petroleum Corporation (MPC) $156.80 2.91% Northrop Grumman Corp. (NOC) $483.32 2.81% Eli Lilly and Company (LLY) $608.25 2.71% Valero Energy Corp. (VLO) $133.27 2.00% McKesson Corp. (MCK) $482.18 1.85% Assurant Inc. (AIZ) $172.92 1.80% Lockheed Martin Corp. (LMT) $463.73 1.67% Progressive Corp. (PGR) $164.20 1.59% Verizon Communications Inc. (VZ) $39.48 1.54% Merck & Co. Inc. (MRK) $114.95 1.51%

S&P 500 - Fallers

Kohls Corp. (KSS) $26.22 -6.49% Nektar Therapeutics (NKTR) $0.56 -6.46% Waters Corp. (WAT) $308.11 -6.24% Albemarle Corp. (ALB) $137.93 -6.10% Nordstrom Inc. (JWN) $17.21 -5.90% Align Technology Inc. (ALGN) $254.09 -5.51% Vornado Realty Trust (VNO) $27.20 -5.23% Mettler Toledo International (MTD) $1,151.17 -5.19% Sl Green Realty Corp. (SLG) $43.61 -5.03% Carmax Inc. (KMX) $72.38 -5.01%

Nasdaq 100 - Risers

NetEase Inc. Ads (NTES) $94.95 2.68% Trip.com Group Limited (TCOM) $36.47 2.27% Check Point Software Technologies Ltd. (CHKP) $154.10 1.21% Amgen Inc. (AMGN) $300.74 1.13% T-Mobile Us, Inc. (TMUS) $163.68 1.10% Netflix Inc. (NFLX) $472.27 0.81% CSX Corp. (CSX) $34.88 0.77% O'Reilly Automotive Inc. (ORLY) $951.70 0.71% Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc. (REGN) $910.72 0.63% Gilead Sciences Inc. (GILD) $83.74 0.60%

Nasdaq 100 - Fallers

Align Technology Inc. (ALGN) $254.09 -5.51% Illumina Inc. (ILMN) $130.88 -4.89% Tesla Inc (TSLA) $237.67 -4.33% Paypal Holdings Inc (PYPL) $58.90 -4.17% Qurate Retail Inc. (QRTEA) $0.83 -4.04% American Airlines Group (AAL) $12.99 -3.35% Walgreens Boots Alliance, Inc. (WBA) $25.77 -3.30% Idexx Laboratories Inc. (IDXX) $531.91 -2.88% Hasbro Inc (HAS) $48.51 -2.79% Intuitive Surgical Inc. (ISRG) $321.96 -2.73%

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Important information: This information is not a personal recommendation for any particular investment. If you are unsure about the suitability of an investment you should speak to one of Fidelity’s advisers or an authorised financial adviser of your choice. When you are thinking about investing in shares, it’s generally a good idea to consider holding them alongside other investments in a diversified portfolio of assets. Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future returns.

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