May 19 (Reuters) - Wall Street’s main indexes remained lower on Wednesday after minutes from an April Federal Reserve meeting showed participants agreed the U.S. economy remained far from the central bank’s goals, with some eyeing a future discussion of tapering its bond buying program.
The S&P 500 added to losses after the release revealed a number of Fed policymakers thought that if the economy continued rapid progress, it would become appropriate “at some point” in upcoming meetings to begin discussing a tapering of the Fed’s monthly purchases of government bonds, a policy designed to keep long-term interest rates low.
“There continues to be a view and a perspective from the participants, as well as the Fed staff that these inflationary pressures that are beginning to become evident will remain transitory in their view and will likely recede as we transition into 2022,” said Bill Northey, senior investment director at U.S. Bank Wealth Management in Minneapolis.
Strong inflation readings and signs of a worker shortage in recent weeks have fueled fears and roiled stock markets despite reassurances from Fed officials that the rise in prices would be temporary.
By 2:49PM ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 0.92% at 33,747.82 points, while the S&P 500 lost 0.71% to 4,098.38. The Nasdaq Composite dropped 0.39% to 13,251.27.
Contributing to a risk off mood on Wednesday, Bitcoin and ether were on track to post their largest one-day loss since March last year, in the wake of China’s move to ban financial and payment institutions from providing cryptocurrency services.
Crypto-exchange operator Coinbase Global fell 6.82%, bitcoin bank Silvergate Capital Corp gained 3.45% and miners Riot Blockchain and Marathon Digital Holdings were down 9.88% and 9.09%, respectively.
All 11 major S&P sectors were lower, with energy and materials down 3.26% and 2%, respectively, leading declines.
Declining issues outnumbered advancing ones on the NYSE by a 3.21-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 2.24-to-1 ratio favored decliners.
The S&P 500 posted 3 new 52-week highs and no new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 22 new highs and 46 new lows.
(Reporting by Echo Wang in New York, Noel Randewich in San Francisco; Additional reporting by Medha Singh in Bengaluru; Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty Maju Samuel and Aurora Ellis)