NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. stocks are drifting Tuesday amid a vacuum of market-moving data, while U.S. regulators shook the cryptocurrency market again by filing charges against another mega player in the industry.
The S&P 500 was 0.1% lower in early trading, though it remains near the edge of what traders call a bull market. It’s almost 20% above where it was in mid-October, as a long-predicted recession has yet to hit and excitement around artificial intelligence has helped a select group of stocks to soar.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average was edging down by 34 points, or 0.1%, at 33,527, as of 9:50 a.m. Eastern time, while the Nasdaq composite was 0.3% lower.
This upcoming week has few top-tier economic reports and corporate earnings updates to help Wall Street answer its main question. It wants to know which could happen first: a recession or inflation falling enough to get the Federal Reserve to start cutting interest rates, which have climbed so high they’ve hurt various parts of the economy.
That’s why next week looms large. The U.S. government will publish its latest monthly updates on inflation, and the Federal Reserve will meet on interest-rate policy. The bet on Wall Street is that the Fed may hold off on hiking rates, which would be the first time that’s happened in more than a year, but could resume raising rates in July.
Some of the strongest action was in the cryptocurrency market, where prices were lower after the Securities and Exchange Commission charged Coinbase with operating its trading platform as an unregistered national securities exchange, broker and clearing agency.
Shares of its parent, Coinbase Global, tumbled 15.9% after the SEC also accused it of being liable for some of Coinbase’s violations. Other charges focused on Coinbase’s staking-as-a-service program, where users get payments for their crypto almost like earning interest from a traditional bank savings account.
A day earlier, the SEC filed 13 charges against another huge crypto trading platform, Binance, and its founder. The actions helped bitcoin drop to $25,653 Tuesday morning, down a little more than 4% from 24 hours earlier. Bitcoin was above $27,000 on Sunday, according to CoinDesk.
Elsewhere in markets, oil fell to give back brief gains driven by Saudi Arabia’s announcement that it would cut production to boost crude’s price. A barrel of U.S. crude dropped 1.5% to $71.07. Brent crude, the international standard sank 1.7% to $75.43.
Both were close to $120 a year ago but have fallen amid worries about a strapped global economy’s need for fuel.
Oil’s drop caused energy companies to fall to some of the steeper losses within the S&P 500. Hess fell 1%, and Devon Energy slipped 0.8%.
In stock markets abroad, indexes were mixed and making only modest moves across much of Europe.
In Asia, Japan’s Nikkei 225 gained 0.9% after government data showed Japanese wages rose 1% over a year earlier in April but growth slowed from the previous month’s 1.3%.
Australia’s S&P ASX 200 fell 1.2% to 7,129.60 Australia’s central bank lifted its benchmark interest rate by 0.25 percentage points to 4.1% and warned further rises could follow. That came after inflation was stronger than expected at 6.8% in the January-March quarter.
AP Business Writers Matt Ott and Joe McDonald contributed.