Stocks mostly slip; dollar touches lowest since late February

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NEW YORK — Wall Street stocks fell on Tuesday, with technology shares turning lower in late trading, while the U.S. dollar touched its lowest level since late February.

The Dow and S&P 500 added to declines in late-day trading, while the Nasdaq briefly turned lower. The S&P 500 technology index reversed early gains.

Losses in telecommunications shares overshadowed upbeat news from retailers. Walmart, the world’s biggest retailer, raised its full-year earnings forecast. AT&T Inc added to declines from Monday, when it said it would cut its dividend payout ratio.

Investors have been considering whether rising inflationary pressure in the United States could force the Federal Reserve to reduce its support in order to prevent the world’s largest economy from overheating.

Fed Vice-Chair Richard Clarida on Monday pointed to the weak April jobs report as proof of lingering weakness in the economy.

Several Fed policymakers are expected to speak this week and the U.S. central bank is due on Wednesday to release the minutes from its April policy meeting, which will be read closely for any indications about where monetary policy is headed this year.

“We’re seeing this dollar weakness against numerous pairs and the market is starting to believe the Fed that we’re going to have low interest rates a lot longer,” said Edward Moya, senior market analyst at OANDA in New York.

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“That’s going to be bearish for the dollar. You’ll eventually see commodity-based currencies outperforming,” Moya said.

The dollar index fell 0.463%, with the euro up 0.61% to $1.2225.

The progress of COVID-19 vaccine deployment and easing of measures to contain the pandemic have lifted higher-risk currencies that stand to benefit most from economic revival.

Bitcoin edged higher but remained near the three-month low it hit after Tesla Inc boss Elon Musk dampened enthusiasm for the cryptocurrency over the weekend.

On Wall Street, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 86.39 points, or 0.25%, to 34,241.4, the S&P 500 lost 11.8 points, or 0.28%, to 4,151.49 and the Nasdaq Composite added 13.70 points, or 0.1%, to 13,392.75.

The pan-European STOXX 600 index rose 0.17% and MSCI’s gauge of stocks across the globe gained 0.40%.

Nominal U.S. Treasury yields remained little changed, with the yield on 10-year Treasury notes up 0.5 basis point at 1.654%.

U.S. gold futures gained 0.03% to $1,867.80 an ounce.

Brent crude oil hit $70 a barrel for the first time since March before trading down. Brent crude fell 1.1% to settle at $68.71, while U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude dropped 1.2% at $65.49.

(Additional reporting by Danilo Masoni in Milan; Stephen Culp and Herbert Lash in New York; Medha Singh and Shashank Nayar in Bengaluru; Alex Lawler in London; and Sujata Rao and Paulina Duran, Editing by William Maclean, Gareth Jones and Dan Grebler)

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