Stocks retreated on Wednesday and gave back some of their gains from a day earlier, when the Standard & Poor’s 500 index had one of its best days of the year. It’s the latest move lower for a stock market that’s yo-yoed since setting a record high earlier this month. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index fell 8.47 points, or 0.3 percent, to 2,444.04, relinquishing about a third of its big gain from Tuesday. The Dow Jones industrial average fell 87.80 points, or 0.4 percent, to 21,812.09, and the Nasdaq composite lost 19.07, or 0.3 percent, to 6,278.41. The Russell 2000 index of small-cap stocks fell 1.80, or 0.1 percent, to 1,369.74.
New U.S. home sales drop in July
Sales of new U.S. homes plummeted 9.4 percent in July, the sharpest one-month drop in nearly a year. But the decline followed strong sales in previous months, and sales so far this year are outpacing last year’s. The Commerce Department said Wednesday that new-home sales fell to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 571,000 in July, down from 630,000 in June. Still, sales in the first seven months of the year are 9.2 percent higher than in the same period last year.
Ratings agency warns of shutdown effects
The nation’s credit rating is at risk if the $19.9 trillion debt limit is not raised “in a timely manner” before the Treasury runs out of cash in October, Fitch Ratings warned on Wednesday. “Brinkmanship over the debt limit could ultimately have rating consequences, as failure to raise it would jeopardize the Treasury’s ability to meet debt service and other obligations,” Fitch, one of the three leading credit-rating companies, said after President Donald Trump on Tuesday raised the possibility of a government shutdown over funding a Mexican border wall. Federal spending is only authorized through Sept. 30.