Merck up as FDA panel votes to back the COVID pill.
The S&P was down 0.05%, the S&P up 0.20%, Nasdaq off 0.35% Updates prices, adds commentary and investors were still jittery about the latest coronaviruses variant, surging inflation, and U.S. Federal Reserve policy.
After advancing by as much as 1.9% earlier in the day, the S&P 500 had given up most of these gains by late afternoon, while the Dow and Nasdaq turned negative.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control confirmed the first case of the Omicron variant detected in the country and that the person had returned from South Africa on November 22.
Wall Street fell on Tuesday after Fed Chair Jerome Powell said the central bank would consider accelerating the withdrawal of its bond buying program at its December meeting amid a surge in inflation and a stronger economy.
Powell said policymakers needed to be prepared to respond to the possibility that inflation may not recede as predicted in the second half of next year.
Lauren Goodwin, Economist and Portfolio Strategist at New York Life Investments, said it was not surprising to see volatility as investors digest a lot of uncertainties including the lack of information on the Omicron variant and the latest signals from the Fed, which are both potentially major changes in market expectations. The investors were reacting to the positive economic data that came out on Wednesday morning, reminding investors that the economic and corporate backdrop for the market is really strong. Goodwin said that the volatility is a buying opportunity for many investors, and he pointed out that there was strong private payroll and purchasing managers data.
In November, manufacturing activity in the U.S. increased due to strong demand for goods.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 15.67 points, or 0.05%, to 34,468 on the day of the Dow Jones Industrial Average. The S&P 500 gained 9.13 points, or 0.20%, to 4,576, on the back of the S&P 500 on the back of a rise of 9.13 points. 13 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 55.00 points, or 0.35%, to 15,482. The Russell 2000 index of small cap companies was down 0.4%, after rising as much as 2.5% at its late morning peak for the session.
The communications services sector dipped into the red in afternoon trading, while all 11 major S&P sectors were advancing into the early afternoon.
The utilities sector, often seen as a defensive sector, was the biggest advancer, followed by healthcare.
Merck Co Inc gained 1% after a panel of advisers to the US Food and Drug Administration narrowly voted to allow the agency to approve the drugmaker's antiviral medication to treat COVID - 19.
The biggest U.S. banks slashed their gains as the session went on, last trading up less than 1% after rising as much as 2.9% earlier in the day.
The World Health Organization expects to have more information on the transmissibility of the Omicron variant within a few days, and that the existing COVID 19 vaccines will work against the variant.
The current-quarter profit from Salesforce.com Inc was below estimates, as it faced stiff competition from rivals, including Microsoft, which sent its shares down 9.7%.
Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by a 1.12 to 1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 1.60 to 1 ratio favors decliners.
The S&P 500 posted 13 new 52 week highs and 27 new lows, and the Nasdaq Composite recorded 36 new highs and 328 new lows.