Wall Street’s main indexes have fallen as a sharp rise in job openings added to worries about the Federal Reserve’s aggressive approach to bring down inflation.
The benchmark S&P 500 index has slumped 4.6 per cent since Fed Chair Jerome Powell last week reaffirmed the central bank’s determination to raise interest rates despite a slowing economy.
Traders raised their bets on a third straight 75 basis points increase in September to 76.5 per cent from 70 per cent before the job openings data was released.
Meanwhile, demand for labour showed no sign of cooling as data showed US job openings rose to 11.239 million in July.
All eyes are now on the August non-farm payrolls data on Friday.
“Markets are so focused on the Fed that a jobs number on Friday that’s too strong will likely spook some folks. We really need Goldilocks here,” said Jeff Buchbinder, chief equity strategist for LPL Financial.
“Stocks can go a little higher between now and the end of the year but in the near-term we would expect quite a bit of choppiness as the market gathers more information on the outlook for the Fed and interest rates.”
All S&P 500 sectors were trading in the red.
The benchmark 10-year Treasury yield erased early morning losses to trade higher at 3.11 per cent.
Rate-sensitive megacap growth and technology stocks such as Microsoft Corp, Apple Inc and Nvidia Corp fell between 0.6 per cent and 1.1 per cent.
In early trading, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 184.94 points, or 0.58 per cent, at 31,914.05, the S&P 500 was down 28.81 points, or 0.71 per cent, at 4,001.80, and the Nasdaq Composite was down 86.17 points, or 0.72 per cent, at 11,931.50.
The CBOE Volatility index, also known as Wall Street’s fear gauge, rose for the third straight session and was last trading at 26.41 points.
Adding to worries, Taiwan’s military fired warning shots at a Chinese drone which buzzed an islet controlled by Taiwan near the Chinese coast.
Best Buy Co rose 4.6 per cent after it reported a smaller than expected drop in quarterly comparable sales as steep discounts helped soften the blow to electronics demand from rampant inflation.
Twitter Inc dipped 1.0 per cent as Tesla Inc chief Elon Musk sent an additional notice to terminate the $US44 billion ($A64 billion) deal to acquire the social media company.
Declining issues outnumbered advancers for a 2.55-to-1 ratio on the NYSE and for a 1.90-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.
The S&P index recorded no new 52-week highs and 10 new lows while the Nasdaq recorded six new highs and 102 new lows.