Stocks dip, U.S. yield curve hits steepest in 2 months

Wed Sep 14, 2016 5:09pm EDT
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By Caroline Valetkevitch

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The U.S. Treasury yield curve hit its steepest in more than two months on Wednesday, while world stock markets edged lower as investors fretted about future U.S. interest rate hikes.

A jump in Apple shares, which briefly touched a 2016 high, limited losses in the S&P 500 index.

Deepening worries over the ability of the world's major central banks to stimulate growth have triggered a rise in bond yields and sparked a bout of risk-off trading.

Speculation about the timing of the Federal Reserve's next interest rate hike also has shaken investors following contrasting comments from Fed officials, even though interest rate futures indicate expectations for a rate hike at the U.S. central bank's Sept. 20-21 meeting are still low.

"What you're seeing is a little preview for what will happen when the Fed does raise rates," said Chris Zaccarelli, chief investment officer at Cornerstone Financial Partners. "People are starting to make changes to their portfolios."

Investor optimism over the newest iPhone drove Apple shares up 3.5 percent to $111.77 and limited losses in U.S. stocks. Apple's market value peaked above $600 billion for the first time since April as Wall Street bet the technology company's newest iPhone would help shore up falling sales.

The Dow Jones industrial average ended down 31.98 points, or 0.18 percent, to 18,034.77, the S&P 500 closed off 1.25 points, or 0.06 percent, to 2,125.77 while the Nasdaq Composite added 18.52 points, or 0.36 percent, to 5,173.77.

MSCI's all-country world stock index was down 0.1 percent, while European shares also ended down 0.1 percent.   Continued...

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York City, New York, U.S., September 9, 2016. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid