S&P, Nasdaq end lower ahead of Fed Chair Powell's speech

STORY: Stocks closed mostly flat on Tuesday - the Nasdaq the biggest loser with declines in both Apple and Amazon.

The Dow was up fractionally, the S&P lost more than a tenth of a percent and the Nasdaq shed more than half a percent.

Investors are focused an upcoming speech by U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell that could provide hints about the magnitude of future interest rate hikes to curb inflation.

Nancy Daoud is a private wealth advisor at Ameriprise Financial.

“One of our biggest problems has been that the economy is so strong – the good news has been the bad news. When you’re trying to curb inflation you almost are looking for the softening of the economy - and it’s very counterintuitive, but that’s pretty much what we’re looking for. So until we see the labor market softening and corporate profits actually declining, then we’ll know we’re on the road to conquering the inflation issue, which is the real culprit here.”

The Fed has delivered four straight 75 basis point rate hikes, and it is expected to shift down the pace to a 50 basis point move in December.

Investors on Tuesday also focused on recent protests against COVID-19 curbs in China, including at the world's biggest iPhone factory.

Apple's stock dropped 2.1%, down for a fourth straight session.

And fellow Nasdaq names Amazon, chipmaker Nvidia and electric vehicle maker Tesla all each lost more than 1%.