Rail Stocks Drop Ahead of Possible Strike

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(Newser)

Stocks closed modestly higher on Wall Street after a day of veering between gains and losses. The tentative trading came a day after the market’s worst drop in two years, which was set off by fears that higher interest rates could cause a recession. The S&P 500 rose 13.32 points, or 0.3%, to 3,946.01. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 30.12 points, or 0.1%, to 31,135.09. The Nasdaq rose 86.10 points, or 0.7%, to 11,719.68. Financial, real estate, and materials stocks were among the biggest weights on the S&P 500. Citigroup fell 1.2%, Duke Realty slid 2.9%, and Sherwin-Williams dropped 2.2%.

A report on inflation at the wholesale level showed prices are still rising rapidly, with pressures building underneath the surface, even if overall inflation slowed. It echoed a report on inflation at the consumer level Tuesday, which raised expectations for interest rate hikes and triggered a rout for markets. Traders now see a one-in-three chance the Fed may hike its benchmark rate by a full percentage point next week, quadruple the usual move, the AP reports. The central bank has already raised its benchmark interest rate four times this year, with the last two increases by three-quarters of a percentage point.

The market is also monitoring US-China tensions and the war in Ukraine, while business and government officials are bracing for the possibility of a nationwide rail strike at the end of this week that could paralyze an already discombobulated supply chain. The railroads have already started to curtail shipments of hazardous materials and have announced plans to stop hauling refrigerated products ahead of Friday’s strike deadline. Businesses that rely on Norfolk Southern, Union Pacific, BNSF, CSX, Kansas City Southern, and other railroads to deliver their raw materials and finished products are planning for the worst. Union Pacific fell 3.7%, and Norfolk Southern fell 2.2%.

(Read more stock market stories.)

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