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Benchmarks ended in negative territory for the second consecutive session on Tuesday following reports that the European Central Bank’s (ECB) bond purchasing program may be wrapped up ahead of its scheduled time of March 2017. Moreover, Richmond Fed President Jeffrey Lacker advocated rate hike chances in the near future, which also weighed on investor sentiment. Further, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) reduced growth outlook for U.S. economy.

For a look at the issues currently facing the markets, make sure to read today’s Ahead of Wall Street article.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) decreased 0.5%, to close at 18,168.45. The S&P 500 also fell 0.5% to close at 2,150.49. The tech-laden Nasdaq Composite Index closed at 5,289.66, losing 0.2%. The fear-gauge CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) increased 0.4% to settle near at 13.63. A total of around 7.2 billion shares were traded on Tuesday, higher than the last 20-session average of 7.1 billion shares. Decliners outpaced advancing stocks on the NYSE. For 71% stocks that declined, only 27% advanced.

What Dragged The Benchmarks?

According to a Bloomberg report, the ECB’s quantitative easing program may meet its conclusion before the scheduled time of March 2017 following significant reduction in bond buying volume in coming months. At present the bank is purchasing $89.7 billion or 80 billion euros of corporate and government bonds each month and it will reportedly cut back the volume by $11.2 billion or 10 billion euros a month.

Further, Richmond Fed President Jeffrey Lacker said the Fed should raise rates in coming months. Lacker said "pre-emptive increases in the federal funds rate are likely to play a critical role in maintaining the stability of inflation."

Rate hike concerns had a negative impact on defensive sectors. The Utilities Select Sector SPDR (XLU) fell 2.1% and was the worst performer among the S&P 500 sectors. Some of its key components, including Exelon Corporation (EXC - Analyst Report) and PPL Corporation (PPL - Analyst Report) declined 2.8% and 3.1%, respectively. Both the two companies possess a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here .

Additionally, the IMF reduced its 2016 growth forecast for the U.S. economy from its previous prediction of 2.2% to 1.6%. Moreover, global growth projection for this year remained unchanged at 3.1%. Meanwhile, growth in advance economies, including the U.S. are expected to expand by 1.6% in 2016, lower than July’s estimate of 1.8%.

Moreover, renewed “Brexit” jitters weighed on markets. Also, investors look forward to monthly employment report this Friday and await the official start of earnings season next week.

Stocks That Made Headlines Today

Constellation Brands Tops Q2 Earnings, Sales; Stock Up

Shares of Constellation Brands Inc. (STZ - Analyst Report) gained, as the company raised its fiscal 2017 outlook after posting yet another quarter of spectacular results. ( Read More)

Twitter Buyout Chatter Grows Louder, Might Get Bids Soon

Twitter Inc (TWTR - Analyst Report) may formally receive bids this week, reports The Wall Street Journal. (Read More)

Will AT&T's Latest Concert Deals Drive Top-Line Growth?

AT&T Inc. (T - Analyst Report) has focused on strengthening its content and online streaming services post the DirecTV acquisition in 2015. (Read More)

Newell Simplifies Operating Structure to Fuel Growth

As part of a strategic business review performed after its acquisition of Jarden Corp., Newell Brands Inc. (NWL - Analyst Report) announced a host of amendments to its business structure. ( Read More)

PPG Industries Gets Naming Rights to Pittsburgh Arena

PPG Industries Inc. (PPG - Analyst Report) has inked a 20-year deal with Pittsburgh Penguins to acquire naming rights for Pittsburgh’s multipurpose arena with immediate effect. ( Read More)

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