By Yashaswini Swamynathan
U.S. stocks edged lower on Wednesday due to losses in energy and technology shares. Oil prices fell more than 1.3 percent and dragged down the S&P 500 energy index by 0.8 percent. Dow components Exxon Mobil and Chevron fell 0.9 percent. Microsoft fell 1.3 percent and Cisco 2.5 percent, pulling down the technology index. Five of the 11 major S&P indexes were lower.Investors are focusing on the release of the minutes from the Federal Reserve's September policy meeting that will reveal policymakers' views on the progress of the U.S. economy and its ability to absorb an interest rate hike this year.
The markets are likely to be more volatile as the third-quarter earnings season will test relatively high valuations of stocks. Overall S&P 500 earnings are currently expected to fall 0.7 percent in the third quarter, marking the fifth quarter of negative earnings in a row, according to Thomson Reuters data.
At 9:44 a.m. ET the Dow Jones industrial average was down 40.68 points, or 0.22 percent, at 18,087.98, the S&P 500 was down 3.22 points, or 0.15 percent, at 2,133.51 and the Nasdaq Composite was down 14.51 points, or 0.28 percent, at 5,232.28.Fortinet shares plunged 12.2 percent after the cybersecurity company cut third-quarter revenue and profit forecast. Shares of rivals Palo Alto and Fireeye also fell. Barracuda Networks soared 13 percent after the computer security and storage firm's quarterly revenue beat analysts' estimates.
Declining issues outnumbered advancing ones on the NYSE by 1,568 to 1,064. On the Nasdaq, 1,373 issues fell and 861 advanced.The S&P 500 index showed no new 52-week highs and one new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 12 new highs and 20 new lows. (Reporting by Yashaswini Swamynathan in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D'Silva)
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Updated Date: Oct 12, 2016 22:30 PM