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Off the open, the S&P 500 index futures were poised to build on the gains from Monday’s session. However, comments from Fed Governor Lael Brainard just after 10 AM EST stating that the central bank could start reducing its balance sheet as soon as May and would be doing so at “a rapid pace” derailed the rally.

That news instigated a rapid 40-handle decline from the intraday high that the index was never able to recover from. It did make a few weak attempts to rebound but failed in each one. Heading into the final hour, when the index was unable to hold the 4540 level, it embarked on another leg lower. 

Late in the session, the index had a test of Friday/weekly low written all over it (4501.25), but the bulls stepped in ahead making the bottom 4507.75. The rebound off that low helped trim the losses for the session to 57.50 handles with a close of 4520.25.

United Health Group Inc. (NYSE: UNH) was the biggest gainer of the top components of the index. For the session, the issue gained $7.74 or 1.52% to close at $517.76. It should be noted that was $7 off its new all-time high ($524.73) made earlier in the session. 

That was nearly 3% better than the cash index’s decline of 1.26%.

Nvidia Corp (NASDAQ: NVDA) was the biggest loser of the top components of the index, falling $14.49 or 5.24% to close at $259.31.


PreMarket Prep Stock Of Day: Carnival Cruise Corp (NYSE: CCL)

Surrenders much of early gains off headlines from after the close on Monday regarding record bookings last week. Read more on CCL here.