Traders work shortly after the opening bell on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange in the Manhattan borough of New York, December 8, 2015. Reuters/Lucas Jackson
U.S. stocks were down late on Wednesday after reversing course earlier in the day as oil resumed its decline and investors took profits ahead of a Federal Reserve meeting next week that is expected to result in an interest rate hike.
While several investors struggled to explain a sharp reversal by the three major U.S. indexes, they cited concerns about slowing global economic growth against a backdrop of weak oil and the first U.S. rate hike in almost a decade.
“We’ve got a heck of a commodity bear market here and the Fed’s about to raise interest rates. People are growing concerned they’re going to raise rates at the worst possible time,” said Robert Phipps, a director at Per Stirling Capital Management in Austin, Texas.
“Oil went up which brought the entire market up. Then the computers came in to sell entire baskets to take profits,” Phipps said.
At 3:13 p.m. (2015 GMT), the Dow Jones industrial average .DJI was down 107.8 points, or 0.61 percent, to 17,460.2, the S&P 500 .SPX had lost 19.95 points, or 0.97 percent, to 2,043.64 and the Nasdaq Composite .IXIC had dropped 86.56 points, or 1.7 percent, to 5,011.68.
The S&P materials sector .SPLRCM was the brightest spot with a 3 percent increase driven by reports that Dow Chemical (DOW.N), whose…