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Wall Street stocks close lower on higher Treasury yields, rate expectations

FILE PHOTO: Traders work on the floor of the NYSE in New York

By Chibuike Oguh

(Reuters) -Wall Street stocks ended lower in choppy trading on Tuesday as Treasury yields climbed, with investors weighing the likely path of interest rates in a resilient U.S. economy with persistent inflation.

Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell said on Tuesday recent inflation data has not given policymakers enough confidence to ease credit soon, noting that the U.S. central bank may need to keep rates higher for longer than previously thought.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average got a boost from UnitedHealth Group's better-than-expected quarterly results. Real estate and utilities were the biggest drags on the S&P 500, while technology gave the largest boost.

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"People are trying to balance this two-sided narrative: U.S. economic growth, which looks really good, and at the same time the inflation picture and interest rates, which will eventually be problematic for the equity market," said James St. Aubin, chief investment officer at Sierra Mutual Funds in California.

A report on Monday showed retail sales grew more than expected in March, a sign of U.S. economic resilience that helped push benchmark U.S. 10-year Treasury yields to five-month highs on Tuesday.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 63.86 points, or 0.17%, to 37,798.97, the S&P 500 lost 10.41 points, or 0.21%, to 5,051.41 and the Nasdaq Composite lost 19.77 points, or 0.12%, to 15,865.25.

The S&P 500 and the Nasdaq are nearly 4% off from record high levels reached last month.

Shares of Morgan Stanley rose 2.5% after its first-quarter profit beat estimates on resurging income from investment banking.

Bank of America dropped 3.5% after the lender posted lower first-quarter profits as its loan loss provisions grew.

Johnson & Johnson slipped 2.1% as the drugmaker's revenue missed analysts' estimates after sales from its blockbuster psoriasis drug, Stelara, fell short of expectations.

Tesla slipped 2.7% a day after falling over 5% on news that the EV marker plans to lay off more than 10% of its global workforce.

Declining issues outnumbered advancers by a 2.25-to-1 ratio on the NYSE, which had 23 new highs and 175 new lows. On the Nasdaq, 1,451 stocks rose and 2,764 fell as declining issues outnumbered advancers by a 1.9-to-1 ratio.

The S&P 500 posted one new 52-week high and eight new lows while the Nasdaq recorded 30 new highs and 362 new lows.

Volume on U.S. exchanges was 11.48 billion shares, compared with the 11.05 billion average for the last 20 days.

(Reporting by Chibuike Oguh in New York; additional reporting by Shashwat Chauhan and Shristi Achar A in Bengaluru; Editing by Richard Chang)