US stocks opened lower Wednesday morning as investors fretted over a potential US debt default and braced for the release of minutes from the Federal Reserve’s last policy meeting.
The S&P 500 (^GSPC) was down 0.49%, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average (^DJI) fell 0.32%, or more than 100 points. The technology-heavy Nasdaq Composite (^IXIC) slipped 0.62%.
In Treasuries, the yield on the benchmark 10-year note was a touch lower at 3.68%, while two-year yields rose slightly to 4.29%. and those on the 30-year bond ticked lower to 3.93%.
The hangup in Washington’s debt-ceiling negotiations is turning out to be longer than expected. Speaker Kevin McCarthy reportedly left Tuesday’s meeting saying to his Republican colleagues, “We are nowhere near a deal yet.” Just hours earlier, he said in the Oval Office:”I think, at the end of the day, we can find common ground.”
Meanwhile, a top McCarthy lieutenant said there are no more meetings planned, Bloomberg reported. The debt-limit standoff has stirred up some anxiety among investors, who have sought out haven assets.
Some believe the chance is that the House and Senate will end up voting on a deal next week, just hours before Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen’s June 1 “X-date” deadline.
“There are real concerns that this could go right down to the wire, and investors are slowly gearing up accordingly,” Jim Reid and colleagues at Deutsche Bank wrote to clients.
“There’s also been talk about whether a short-term extension might now be needed to get this over the line, but for the time being, Speaker McCarthy has continued to downplay the prospect that will happen. So investors continue to wait nervously with no signs of a deal emerging just yet,” Reid added.
Investors are also focusing on the release of the Federal Open Market Committee minutes on Wednesday afternoon. The policymakers’ comments could shed light as to just how seriously the central bank is considering holding interest rates steady, and reveal whether any FOMC members leaned toward a pause.
Elsewhere, stocks are also facing pressure over China’s economic recovery, and escalating US-China chip tensions could signal more uncertainty ahead.
In single stock moves, shares of Palo Alto Networks, Inc. (PANW) advanced more than 4% after the company reported third-quarter adjusted earnings that came in above analysts’ expectations. The cybersecurity company raised its guidance on profit and revenue for the year.
Toll Brothers, Inc. (TOL) shares gained more than 3% after the homebuilder’s quarterly profit and revenue beat expectations as mortgage rates stabilized and improved buyer confidence boosted demand.
PacWest Bancorp (PACW) shares rallied more than 4% after the bank sold its real-estate lending arm.
On the earnings front, results from Abercrombie & Fitch (ANF), BMO (BMO), e.l.f. Beauty (ELF), Kohl’s (KSS), Nvidia (NVDA), Petco (WOOF), Red Robin (RRGB), Snowflake (SNOW) are on deck Wednesday.
Dani Romero is a reporter for Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter @daniromerotv
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