Markets Try to Shake off Sluggish Start, S&P Still Not Untracked

The S&P 500 fell slightly Tuesday as Wall Street looked to find its footing after an uneven start to the month.

The Dow Jones Industrials ticked higher 54.82 points to break for lunch Tuesday at 38,516.21.

The much-broader index slid 20.38 points to 5,263.02.

The NASDAQ dropped 60.43 points to 16,768.24.

3M, Dow and Caterpillar fell more than 1%, keeping gains for the Dow in check. Bath & Body Works was the worst-performing stock in the S&P 500, losing 14% on the back of disappointing guidance.

Investors also parsed a fresh reading on job openings. employment data from the Labor Department showed 8.059 million vacancies in April, the lowest level in over three years. An estimate from Dow Jones called for 8.4 million openings.

Investors want a labour market that’s weak enough to allow the central bank to cut interest rates, but not so weak that it causes worry over a potential recession rise.

Prices for the 10-year Treasury gained ground, lowering yields to 4.34% from Monday’s 4.40%. Treasury prices and yields move in opposite directions.

Oil prices shed $1.25 to $72.97 U.S. a barrel.

Gold prices sank $23.60 to $2,344.80.