US stocks have ended flat as increased expectations of stimulus from central banks around the world were offset by losses in technology and healthcare shares. Investors also appeared to pull back from buying after the market posted solid increases last week, strategists said. Microsoft was the day’s biggest drag on the S&P 500 and Nasdaq.

The S&P 500 financial index was among Monday’s best-performing groups, rising 1.5 per cent, with banks gaining 3.2 per cent and US Treasury yields up on rising bets of an interest rate cut at the US Federal Reserve’s September meeting. Cementing those expectations, Fed Chairman Jerome Powell said late last week the central bank would “act as appropriate” to sustain economic expansion, a phrase that financial markets have read as a sign of an impending rate cut.

Stocks rose last week largely on easing worries about US-China trade negotiations. This week, the European Central Bank is expected to introduce new stimulus measures at its meeting on Thursday.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 38.05 points, or 0.14 per cent, to 26,835.51, the S&P 500 lost 0.28 points, or 0.01 per cent, to 2978.43 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 15.64 points, or 0.19 per cent, to 8087.44.

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