Stocks on Wall Street mostly fall, adding to recent losses

Stocks were mostly lower Tuesday afternoon after a long holiday weekend, adding to the market’s recent losses as Wall Street heads into the final trading day of 2022 after a year of pain for investors.

As of 2:31 p.m. ET, the S&P 500 was down 0.5%, while the Nasdaq Composite was down 1.4%. Both indexes shrugged off their third straight weekly losses. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 7 points, or less than 0.1%, to 33,212.

Technology stocks, automakers and communications services companies accounted for much of the S&P 500’s losses. Apple fell 1.5 percent, Ford fell 1.3 percent and Netflix fell 2.9 percent.

Airline stocks were broadly lower after a massive winter storm caused widespread delays and forced several airlines to cancel weekend flights. Delta Air Lines fell 1.1%, American Airlines fell 1.1% and JetBlue Airways fell 1.4%.

Shares of Southwest Airlines fell 5.6% after it had to cancel about two-thirds of its flights over the past few days, blaming staffing and weather-related issues. It was a rare misstep for Southwest, generally considered one of the more reliable airlines in good times and bad.

A trader checks his phone outside the New York Stock Exchange in Manhattan's financial district, Wednesday, Sept. 14, 2022.

Energy stocks were the biggest gainers among S&P 500 companies as crude oil and natural gas prices rose. Hess rose 1.1 percent.

U.S. Treasury yields mostly rose as the U.S. bond market reopened. The yield on the 10-year U.S. Treasury note, which affects mortgage rates, rose to 3.85% from 3.75% late on Friday.

After a dismal year for stocks, investors are looking ahead to 2023, expecting relatively quiet trading on Wall Street this week.

Uncertainty over how far the Federal Reserve and other central banks will go to combat the highest inflation in decades has rattled investors. The Fed has raised key interest rates seven times this year and signaled further hikes in 2023, even as the pace of price increases has been slowing.

High interest rates have weighed heavily on prices of stocks and other investments, fueling fears that the economy could slow too much and slip into a recession next year.

The benchmark S&P 500 hit an all-time high in early January but is down nearly 20% this year. The tech-heavy Nasdaq fell nearly 34%.

Elsewhere in the world, shares rose on Tuesday after China announced it would ease more pandemic restrictions even as the widespread outbreak of COVID-19 is straining its healthcare system and disrupting business.

China’s National Health Commission said Monday that travelers arriving from abroad will no longer need to be quarantined starting Jan. 8. They still need to have a negative virus test within 48 hours of departure and wear a mask while flying.

But it was the latest step toward abandoning once-strict virus containment measures that severely restricted travel in and out of the world’s second-largest economy.

Stephen Innes of SPI Asset Management said in a commentary: “With economic activity struggling and multinationals questioning the viability of China as a source of sourcing, policymakers – as they have done many times in the past – have taken a Very commercial approach.”

People walk past a monitor showing Japan's Nikkei 225 index at a securities firm in Tokyo, Tuesday, Dec. 27, 2022. Asian shares rose on Tuesday after China announced it would ease more pandemic restrictions despite the widespread COVID-19 outbreak, straining its healthcare system.

The company welcomed the move, seeing it as an important step toward reviving sluggish business activity.

China joins other countries in treating cases rather than trying to stamp out the infection. It has waived or eased rules on testing, isolation and mobility in an attempt to reverse the recession. But the shift has already flooded hospitals with feverish, wheezing patients, and authorities are going door-to-door to pay for COVID-19 vaccines for people over 60.

The Shanghai Composite Index rose 1% to 3,096.57. Markets in Hong Kong and Australia were closed for a holiday.