U.S. stocks finished mostly lower on Thursday, kicking off the final month of a brutal year for investors on a downbeat note. The Dow Jones Industrial Average
fell about 194 points, or 0.6%, ending near 34,395. The S&P 500 index
fell 0.1%, while the Nasdaq Composite Index
rose 0.1%, according to FactSet. Stocks rallied sharply on Wednesday after Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell indicated the central bank may soon downsize its pace or rate hikes after a series of jumbo increases of 75 basis points to the Fed’s policy rate. That has brought the benchmark rate to a range of 3.75% to 4%, its highest level in 15 years. But signs that U.S. inflation may be falling after being stuck near a 40-year high have encouraged Fed officials and investors, with the 10-year Treasury rate falling to 3.6% Thursday, its lowest yield in about two months, according to Dow Jones Market Data. The next big economic item for investors will be the release on Friday of October jobs data, which could help determine the size of the Fed’s next rate hike during its Dec. 13-14 Federal Open Market Committee meeting. The odds currently favor a 50 basis point increase.