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Wall Street falls due to rising crude oil and falling mega-cap stocks

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By Devik Jain and Amruta Khandekar

March 23 (Reuters) – U.S. stock indices fell on Wednesday as crude prices rose and mega-cap stocks fell, while investors weighed the outlook for interest rates after calls from policymakers Federal Reserve to a mayor rise.

* By 1500 GMT, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 232.74 points, or 0.64%, at 34,584.75; the S&P 500 index lost 18.18 points, or 0.62%, to 4,483.43 units; and the Nasdaq Composite obtained 99.64 points, or 0.67%, and 14,014.38 units.

* Nine of the 11 major S&P sectors were lower in early trading, with technology, consumer discretionary and financials falling the most after fueling a strong rally on Wall Street in the previous session.

* Amazon.com, Alphabet Inc, Meta Platforms and Microsoft Corp are between 0.7% and 1.1%.

* Energy stocks, the S&P’s best-performing sector so far this year, resumed their rally after taking a breather on Tuesday. Occidental Petroleum led the advances, with a rise of 3.5%, in a day in which Brent exceeded 121 dollars per barrel.

* “Oil prices are rising, but I think investors are not sure what the direction of the market is right now,” said Sam Stovall of CFRA Research in New York. “I would say that uncertainty breeds a lack of conviction or vice versa. Investors are looking at the market and trading more from a short-term perspective.”

* St. Louis Fed President James Bullard on Tuesday advocated raising rates to as low as 3% this year, while Cleveland Fed chief Loretta Mester said big rate hikes are likely needed in “some” of the remaining six Fed meetings this year.

* The aggressive swing was in line with comments on US central bank President Jerome Powell on Monday and came just a week after the Fed raised rates for the first time since 2018.

(Edited in Spanish by Carlos Serrano)

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