Stock market today: Most of Wall Street weakens again as Treasury yields rise more

NEW YORK (AP) — Most U.S. stocks are weakening again Tuesday, as continued concerns about high interest rates compete with strong earnings reports from some big companies.

The S&P 500 was down 0.3% in early trading, following a sharp loss after buckling under pressure from a jump in Treasury yields. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 78 points, or 0.2%, as of 9:45 a.m. ET, and the Nasdaq composite was down 0.4%.

A 5.8% rise for UnitedHealth helped support the market after the insurer reported higher profits and income during the first three months of the year than analysts expected. Morgan Stanley was another winner, up 2.1%, after also beating expectations.

But most Wall Street stocks were falling. PNC Financial fell 3.3% after reporting weaker revenue than analysts expected. Johnson & Johnson sank 2.2% even though it also reported stronger-than-expected fourth-quarter earnings. Its revenue was slightly below forecasts.

Companies are under even more pressure than usual to report higher profits and revenues because the other lever that sets stock prices, interest rates, appears unlikely to add much momentum anytime soon.

Traders are raising forecasts for when the Federal Reserve can start cutting its main interest rate, which is at the highest level in more than two decades. A series of reports showing inflation and the economy in general remains hottest that forecast is raising concerns that the Federal Reserve will have to keep rates high much longer than expected to achieve the final improvement needed to bring inflation down to its 2% target.

After jumping on Monday for better-than-expected data on sales at US retailers Last month, Treasury yields rose again following a speech by the vice chairman of the Federal Reserve.

Philip Jefferson said his expectation is that inflation will continue to decline and that the Federal Reserve will keep its main rate "stable at its current level." That contrasts with what he said in February, when he said that “it will probably be appropriate to start reducing political moderation at some point this year” if things go as he hoped.

Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell will also speak in the afternoon, and that could cause more swings in financial markets as traders lower their forecasts for how many rate cuts could come this year. After reaching 2024 expecting the Fed to cut rates six times or moreAccording to CME Group data, traders are now mostly asking for just one or two reductions.

The 10-year Treasury yield rose to 4.68% from 4.61% late Monday and from 4.52% before the weekend.

The two-year Treasury yield, which more closely tracks expectations for Fed action, rose to 4.96% from 4.91% late Monday.

In foreign stock markets, indices fell in Asia and Europe, matching the beating Wall Street took on Monday. Stock indices fell 2.1% in Hong Kong, 2.3% in Seoul and 1.4% in Paris.

AP Business writers Matt Ott and Elaine Kurtenbach contributed.

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