U.S. stocks headed lower on Thursday as a slide in energy stocks added to gloom after the Federal Reserve quashed hopes of interest rate cuts this year.
Fed Chairman Jerome Powell sought to downplay low inflation as transient, putting breaks to a rally in the S&P 500 on Wednesday and driving down bets among traders about a rate cut.
Adding to the woes, oil prices slid on record U.S. crude production that led to a surge in inventories, dragging the energy index 1.4% lower, the most among the major S&P sectors.
With first-quarter earnings season winding down, investors are looking for fresh catalysts such as U.S.-China trade developments and economic data.
"The markets seemed to be stalling out after hitting all-time highs and the focus just shifted towards taking some money off the table," said Robert Pavlik, chief investment strategist and senior portfolio manager at SlateStone Wealth LLC in New York.
"There is just a genuine lack of catalysts, now that most of the big names have reported there is no real driver."
Markets are also waiting for a reading of the Labor Market`s non-farm payrolls data on Friday, which is expected to show fewer job additions last month compared to March.
At 12:03 p.m. ET the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 238.04 points, or 0.90%, at 26,192.10, the S&P 500 was down 20.75 points, or 0.71%, at 2,902.98 and the Nasdaq Composite was down 61.97 points, or 0.77%, at 7,987.67.
More than 350 of the S&P 500 companies have reported so far, and analysts now expect earnings to rise 0.7% compared with a 2% fall estimated at the beginning of April, according to Refinitiv data.
Among gainers, Qualcomm Inc rose 0.9% after analysts said the chipmaker was well-positioned in the 5G networks space even as it forecast disappointing current-quarter sales.
The Philadelphia Semiconductor index rose 0.3%.
Under Armour Inc gained 4.4% after the sportswear maker posted strong quarterly earnings and raised its full-year profit forecast, benefiting from stronger demand in overseas markets.
Among decliners, Dow Inc, the commodity chemicals division spun off from DowDuPont Inc, slipped 4.7% after reporting a 24 percent fall in core earnings.
Kellogg Co dropped about 4% after the cereal and snacks maker said it would replace its chief financial officer and reported a 36.5 percent decline in first-quarter earnings.
Declining issues outnumbered advancers for a 2.35-to-1 ratio on the NYSE and a 1.74-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.
The S&P index recorded nine new 52-week highs and six new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 40 new highs and 50 new lows.
(This article has not been edited by Zeebiz editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)