US stocks fluctuate; ASX expected to open lower as iron ore price drops

Wall Street swung between gains and losses ahead of today’s expiration of options and futures, a quarterly event that typically results in increased volume and volatility. Iron ore prices continued to decline, dragging US stocks in mining giants BHP and Rio Tinto down and preparing the Australian stock market for a weak start.

The S&P 500 fluctuated on either side of stability after the index posted its biggest gain since August on Wednesday and closed 0.2% lower at 4473.75 points. The stock market’s benchmark is down around 1% so far this month amid concerns of a wider pullback following a string of record gains. The Dow Jones Industrial Average also fell 0.2%, while the Nasdaq edged up 0.1%.

The lack of direction on Wall Street and the fall in iron ore should allow a smooth opening to the local stock exchange. ASX futures were down 20 points, or 0.3%, at 7,422 at 6:46 am AEST. US-traded BHP shares fell 3.6% and Rio shares fell 4.6% as the price of iron ore continued its recent decline, falling 8.1% to 107, $ 21 per ton.

Wall Street fluctuated between a slight rise and a slight drop overnight.Credit:NYSE

Tech companies have weakened, as have communications and healthcare stocks. Nvidia fell 0.4% and Facebook fell 0.2%.

“After seven months of gains, the stock markets were more turbulent in mid-September,” said Keith Lerner, chief market strategist at Truist Advisory Services. “This is actually quite normal from a historical seasonal perspective, although the ongoing carousel of concerns continues.”

Banks’ losses have been mitigated by rising bond yields which help them charge more lucrative interest on loans. The 10-year Treasury yield rose to 1.34% from 1.30% Wednesday night.

U.S. indices began to fluctuate as investors weighed the impact of mixed economic data on the Federal Reserve’s plans to cut stimulus.

Retail sales rose unexpectedly in August, suggesting that demand for goods remains strong. Consumers have simply shifted their spending to more online shopping and away from businesses that are still struggling to recover from the pandemic, including restaurants and other businesses that rely on in-person spending.

Wall Street was also examining a disappointing report showing that weekly jobless claims rose more than expected.

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