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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

Wall St ends sharply lower on deadlocked debt ceiling talks

Wall Street indexes were subdued on Tuesday as talks over increasing the U.S. debt limit stretched to another round, keeping investors jittery on prospects of an unprecedented government default.

White House and congressional Republican negotiators will meet again later in the day to discuss how to raise the $31.4 trillion debt ceiling, with just nine days left for the deadline.

This comes after President Joe Biden and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy could not reach an agreement about the debt ceiling in their meeting a day earlier, but vowed to keep talking.

“Both sides are motivated to not default and to work out a compromise, so that’s the feeling today at any rate. The markets really never expect a default. Not much is priced in for that and so that’s a positive,” said Thomas Martin, senior portfolio manager at GLOBALT Investments.

Worries over the debt limit pushed yields on one-month Treasury bills to record highs at 5.888%, before falling by midday.

Trading on the S&P 500 index was stuck in a 30-point range in the last two sessions as U.S. debt ceiling talks lingered.

Strategists polled by Reuters see the benchmark index ending the year at 4,150 points, down slightly from Monday’s close of 4,192.63.

Helping limit losses, the S&P Global data showed U.S. business activity rose to a 13-month high in May, lifted by strong growth in the services sector.

The report was the latest indication that the economy held its momentum early in the second quarter despite rising risks of a recession.

The Commerce Department’s April personal consumption expenditure (PCE) index reading, the Fed’s preferred inflation gauge, is due on Friday.

Broadcom Inc advanced 2.5%, hitting a record high after the chipmaker entered into a multi-billion-dollar deal with Apple Inc to use chips made in the United States. Apple shares fell 0.9%.

Zoom Video Communications fell 7.6% after the video conferencing platform recorded its slowest quarterly revenue growth.

At 12:25 p.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 3.48 points, or 0.01%, at 33,290.06, the S&P 500 was down 13.15 points, or 0.31%, at 4,179.48, and the Nasdaq Composite was down 41.50 points, or 0.33%, at 12,679.28.

Among retail earnings, Lowe’s Companies Inc cut its annual comparable sales forecast, as demand dwindles for home improvement goods. Lowe’s reverse coursed to gain 2.5%.

BJ’s Wholesale Club Holdings Inc dropped 6.9% after the warehouse club operator missed first-quarter revenue estimates. Shares of regional lenders extended gains from the previous session, led by a 14.5% rise in PacWest Bancorp.

The KBW regional banking index hit a three-week high, up 2.7%. Advancing issues outnumbered decliners by a 1.16-to-1 ratio on the NYSE and by a 1.34-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq. The S&P index recorded three new 52-week highs and one new low, while the Nasdaq recorded 79 new highs and 44 new lows.

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