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Stocks Hold Steady as Some Calm Remains03/28 09:58

   Stocks are mixed in relatively quiet trading on Tuesday, and Wall Street is 
regaining some cool at the tail end of what's been a turmoil-filled month.

   NEW YORK (AP) --- Stocks are mixed in relatively quiet trading on Tuesday, 
and Wall Street is regaining some cool at the tail end of what's been a 
turmoil-filled month.

   The S&P 500 was virtually unchanged in morning trading. The Dow Jones 
Industrial Average was up 99 points, or 0.3%, at 32,531 as of 10:15 a.m. 
Eastern time, while the Nasdaq composite was 0.5% lower.

   There was calm even in the bond market, which has been home to some of Wall 
Street's wildest moves since fears flared about the banking system earlier this 
month. Yields were holding relatively steady following their historic-sized 
moves in prior weeks.

   This month has been dominated by worries that banks around the world may be 
cracking under the pressure of much higher interest rates. In the U.S., 
investors have been on the hunt for smaller and midsized banks that could see a 
quick exodus of customers akin to the run that toppled Silicon Valley Bank. In 
Europe, meanwhile, big banks have come under pressure at times as investors 
look for potential weak links.

   Some calm has returned to the market as regulators have made big moves to 
protect the system. In the U.S., regulators found a buyer for much of Silicon 
Valley Bank after introducing a program that helps banks raise cash more 
easily. And across the Atlantic, regulators pushed one Swiss banking giant to 
take over another.

   Bank stocks were holding relatively steady Tuesday, including those 
investors have highlighted as most at risk.

   First Republic was up 0.9%, while PacWest Bancorp. was down 1.7%. The 
harshest focus has been on them and not the "too big to fail" banks, which are 
seen as less of a risk.

   One of the broader worries has been that all the furor could lead to a 
pullback in lending by banks to businesses across the country. That in turn 
could lead to less economic growth and a higher risk of a recession.

   Jan Hatzius, chief economist and head of global investment research at 
Goldman Sachs, recently raised his probability of a recession over the next 
year to 35% from 25%. But in a report, he called the banking industry's 
struggles "a headwind, not a hurricane" for the economy.

   Reports on the economy have been coming in mixed. The job market remains 
remarkably solid, while smaller corners of the economy have been showing more 

   On Tuesday, one report showed that confidence among consumers is 
strengthening, contrary to economists' expectations for a moderation. Another 
report suggested U.S. home prices softened in January from December, but not by 
quite as much as economists expected.

   Worries were already high about a possible recession given how high the 
Federal Reserve and other central banks have yanked interest rates over the 
last year to undercut inflation. Higher rates can do that but only by hitting 
the entire economy with a blunt hammer. They also drag on prices for stocks, 
bonds and other investments along the way.

   The Fed announced its latest hike to rates last week, saying it opted for a 
gentler increase of 0.25 percentage points than one of 0.50 points because the 
banking industry's challenges could end up acting like a rate increase on their 
own. It also hinted one more increase may be on the way before it holds rates 
steady for a while.

   Even though it's been easing since the summer, inflation still remains well 
above the Fed's target.

   Traders, though, are betting the Fed will have to cut rates as soon as this 
summer to prop up the economy. Such bets have returned in force since the 
banking industry's woes began. They also materialized almost as quickly as a 
prior round of bets for rate cuts had earlier disappeared following a wave of 
data showing inflation was stickier than expected.

   Such drastic shifts in expectations for the Fed have led to huge swings in 
the bond market. On Tuesday, they were taking it a bit easier.

   The yield on the 10-year Treasury, which helps set rates for mortgages and 
other important loans, ticked up to 3.55% from 3.54% late Monday.

   The two-year yield, which moves more on expectations for the Fed, rose to 
4.03% from 4.01%. It was above 5% earlier this month and at its highest level 
since 2007.

   The slight turn higher in yields put some pressure on technology and other 
high-growth stocks, which tend to be hurt more than others by higher rates. 
Apple, Microsoft and Nvidia were among the heaviest weights on the S&P 500 
after dipping modestly, for example.

   But the majority of stocks were rising, including a 10% jump for McCormick & 
Co. The spices and seasonings company reported stronger profit and revenue for 
its latest quarter than analysts expected.

   In markets abroad, stocks were little changed in much of Europe, and Asian 
indexes finished mostly higher.

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