(Reuters) -Wall Street’s main indexes slipped in choppy trading on Tuesday, as investors cautiously awaited crucial data later in the week for more clues on the path of inflation.

FILE PHOTO: The front facade of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) is seen in New York City, U.S., May 4, 2021. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid/File Photo

Exxon Mobil Corp shed 2.3%, weighing the most on the benchmark S&P 500, after sources said BlackRock Inc has backed four candidates to join the energy giant’s board.

Energy dropped about 1%, leading sectoral declines. Industrials and real estate were the only S&P sectors in positive territory.

Airline stocks were a bright spot after United Airlines and Hawaiian Holdings issued upbeat air traffic and ticket sale estimates that sent their shares up 3.2% and 4.5%, respectively.

The S&P 1500 airlines index added about 1.7%.

“The market is betting that the economy will do better and the yield curve will steepen further,” said Linda Duessel, senior equity strategist at Federated Hermes.

“The market and the Wall Street analysts have struggled to catch up with the economic advancement and corporate earnings are likely to be quite strong in the second quarter.”

The S&P 500 and the Nasdaq kicked off the week about 1% higher after Federal Reserve officials maintained that ultra-easy monetary policy will remain, allaying worries that higher prices may force the central bank to scale back its support.

Yields on 10-year Treasury bond slipped to a fresh two-week low on Tuesday.

With the S&P 500 within 1% of its May 7 all-time high, focus will be on the U.S. PCE report on Thursday, the Fed’s favorite inflation gauge, following a recent bout of market volatility triggered by fears of a longer period of inflation.

“The PCE (personal consumption expenditures) data due later in the week is key to get a better judgment on inflation and we would expect the market to be a slightly directionless until that data is out,” said Randy Frederick, vice president of trading and derivatives for Charles Schwab in Austin, Texas.

Data on Tuesday showed sales of new U.S. single-family homes dropped in April as prices surged amid a tight supply of houses, while a separate report showed U.S. consumer confidence was little changed in May.

At 11:53 a.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 35.57 points, or 0.10%, at 34,358.41 and the S&P 500 was down 6.30 points, or 0.15%, at 4,190.75. The Nasdaq Composite was down 15.67 points, or 0.11%, at 13,645.51.

Boeing rose 1.6% after aircraft leasing business SMBC Aviation Capital agreed to buy 14 more 737 MAX jets.

Lordstown Motors Corp slumped 10.7% after the electric vehicle startup said that 2021 production of its Endurance truck would be half of prior expectations and it needs additional capital to execute its plans.

Declining issues outnumbered advancers for a 1.20-to-1 ratio on the NYSE and for a 1.40-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.

The S&P index recorded 26 new 52-week highs and one new low, while the Nasdaq recorded 64 new highs and 40 new lows.

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