US stocks opened lower, the last day of the first quarter, pulling back on two sessions of big gains after crude prices weakened and the dollar strengthened.
In early morning trading the Dow Jones Industrial Average slipped more than 120 points to or 0.67% to open at 17,856.23 but later rebounded to trade most recently 59 points or 0.3% lower at 17917.
A report indicating that US consumer confidence had rebounded in March after tumbling in February helped the index pare morning losses.
The S&P 500 Index dipped 5 points slid 5 points or 0.2% to 2,081 points. Nine of the benchmark index’s ten key sectors traded in the red on the day. It however remains on course for its 10th straight quarterly gain-its longest streak since 1998.
The Nasdaq composite shed 13 points or 0.3% to 4934. It is also on course for its tenth straight quarterly advance.
Energy shares were among the biggest losers on the day after crude prices slipped on a robust dollar and expectation that economic sanctions on Iran would be lifted paving the way for an increase in its oil exports with talks expected to be completed on Tuesday.
“Today’s move is largely in reaction to yesterday, a back-to-normal session, but our view on the market is still constructive. As we see continued acquisition deals, that will be supportive for the backdrop,” James Dunigan, chief investment officer at PNC Wealth Management in Philadelphia, told Reuters.
For the year, the S&P 500 index has gained 19 points or 0.3%, the Nasdaq Composite has jumped more than 192 points or 4.07% having equaled its 15-year closing high earlier this month.
The blue-chip Dow Jones is barely even advancing 69 points or just 0.39%. The major indexes have fluctuated this quarter with uncertainty over their performance in the second quarter.
“It’s very much day-to-day depending on what oil prices and interest rates are doing,” Patrick Kaser, portfolio manager at Brandywine Global, which manages $63 billion, told the Wall Street Journal.
“The majority of investors don’t have conviction right now as to what the next move is.”
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