By Caroline Valetkevitch
NEW YORK (Reuters) - The Dow and S&P 500 ended slightly lower on Tuesday as investors stayed worried the Federal Reserve will keep interest rates higher for longer and as banks shares eased.
The Nasdaq finished barely in the green.
The financial sector <.SPBK> fell 0.9% and was the biggest drag on the S&P 500. An S&P downgrade of credit ratings of multiple regional U.S. lenders weighed on banks shares, with the KBW regional banking index sliding 2.7% and the S&P 500 banks index falling 2.4%.
Investors hope for clarity on the rate outlook when Fed Chair Jerome Powell speaks at a meeting of central bankers on Friday in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.
"Rates have backed up pretty good again, so that's kind of putting somewhat of a damper on stocks," said Peter Tuz, president of Chase Investment Counsel in Charlottesville, Virginia.
The benchmark 10-year Treasury yield hit almost 16-year highs overnight on the view the Fed could keep rates higher for longer. Higher borrowing costs can slow spending by businesses and consumers.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 174.86 points, or 0.51%, to 34,288.83, the S&P 500 lost 12.22 points, or 0.28%, to 4,387.55 and the Nasdaq Composite added 8.28 points, or 0.06%, to 13,505.87.
Investors also eagerly awaited results and a forecast from chip heavyweight Nvidia due after the bell on Wednesday. Nvidia surprised investors with its strong forecast in May, fueling a rally in its own and other tech stocks amid artificial intelligence hopes.
Shares of Nvidia hit an all-time high of $481.87 early but were down 2.8% on the day.
Department stores were among the day's biggest decliners. Macy's sank 14.1% after the chain warned of weak consumer spending through the crucial holiday shopping season. Shares of Kohl's Corp. were down 10.3% while Nordstrom Inc was down 9.8%.
Volume on U.S. exchanges was 9.38 billion shares, compared with the 10.97 billion average for the full session over the last 20 trading days.
Declining issues outnumbered advancing ones on the NYSE by a 1.43-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 1.43-to-1 ratio favored decliners.
The S&P 500 posted 4 new 52-week highs and 13 new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 39 new highs and 221 new lows.
(Reporting by Caroline Valetkevitch; additional reporting by Amruta Khandekar and Shristi Achar A; Editing by Shinjini Ganguli, Maju Samuel and David Gregorio)