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U.S. Stocks Stabilize After Selloff

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09/26/2017 | 10:30pm CEST
By Michael Wursthorn and Marina Force 

--U.S. stocks stabilize after Monday's drop

--Some havens, including gold, decline

Shares of technology companies rose Tuesday, helping major U.S. stock indexes stabilize after Monday's declines.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average declined 12 points, or less than 0.1%, to 22284, following its biggest drop since Sept. 5 on Monday. The S&P 500 added less than 0.1%, while the Nasdaq Composite rose 0.2%.

The moves came after tensions between North Korea and the U.S. sparked a pullback in U.S. stocks Monday. Without any new major geopolitical developments on Tuesday, investors appeared to be taking advantage of the recent declines, analysts said.

"Investors are looking to pick up things that have fallen down a little bit," said Chris Wolfe, chief investment officer at First Republic Bank's wealth-management arm. With bond yields still relatively low, "you get into a place where equities are the only game in town," he added.

Shares of tech companies in the S&P 500, which have been big contributors to this year's gains in the U.S. stock market, climbed 0.4% after slumping Monday.

Software maker Red Hat rose 4.1%, putting it among the index's biggest gainers after it reported higher-than-expected profit and revenue for the latest quarter. Chip maker Nvidia added 0.6% and shares of Apple, which have tumbled this month, gained 1.7%.

Investors pulled back from assets they consider to be relatively safe. Gold for September delivery fell 0.7% Tuesday, and the dollar rose 0.4% against the Japanese yen, which tends to rise when markets slide.

An escalation between North Korea and the U.S. has pressured major indexes and sent haven assets like gold higher a few times in recent months.

"A lot of our clients are concerned," said Eric Aanes, president of Titus Wealth Management, a $500 million advisory firm just outside of San Rafael, Calif. "We're getting to the point where there's a lot of confusion where to put money."

Tensions with North Korea had ramped up Monday after the foreign minister warned the country would shoot down U.S. warplanes even if they were outside its airspace. White House officials dismissed talk of war.

Meanwhile, Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen defended the central bank's projection for a gradual path of interest-rate increases over the next few years while speaking at an economic conference in Cleveland on Tuesday. Officials last week hinted the central bank would raise rates once more this year.

However, Ms. Yellen added that if low inflation persists, it could lead to a slightly slower pace of rate rises.

The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note rose to 2.229% Tuesday, according to Tradeweb, from 2.220% Monday. Yields rise as bond prices fall.

The WSJ Dollar Index, which measures the currency against a basket of 16 others, rose 0.3% Tuesday after closing Monday at its highest level this month.

The Stoxx Europe 600 was little changed. In Asia, South Korea's Kospi closed down 0.3%, while Japan's Nikkei Stock Average also fell 0.3%, with tech stocks under pressure.

Kenan Machado contributed to this article.

Write to Michael Wursthorn at [email protected]

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