US stocks edge lower as oil prices fall

NEW YORK (AFP) – Wall Street stocks finished with modest losses on Wednesday as oil prices retreated and Federal Reserve chief Jerome Powell acknowledged interest rate hikes could lead to a recession.

Stocks began lower, but pushed into positive territory for a time after Mr Powell reiterated the need to counter inflation, but added that a recession was “certainly a possibility” amid the ongoing interest rate hikes.

Fears of a downturn were a driver of the oil market, which fell sharply, a move that has helped gasoline prices retreat a bit in recent days from record highs.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 0.2 per cent to end at 30,483.13.

The broad-based S&P 500 dipped 0.1 per cent to close at 3,759.89, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index declined 0.2 per cent to 11,053.10.

Although stocks ended lower, National Securities strategist Art Hogan said the session should be seen as “more of a victory” in that equities were able to retain most of Tuesday’s gains.

Among individual companies, Kohl’s fell 8.8 per cent after a report on CNBC that Franchise Group is considering a lower bid for the retailer as it weighs a takeover offer.

Netflix jumped 4.7 per cent following a report in the Wall Street Journal that the company was considering a venture with either Comcast’s NBC Universal or Google-parent Alphabet on a lower-priced streaming service with ads.

Comcast rose 1.1 per cent and Alphabet was flat.