Energy Stocks Lead ‘Listless’ Market; Tesla Drops … Again
U.S. stocks veered lower in afternoon trading Tuesday as losses in technology companies and banks outweighed gains elsewhere. Health care and energy companies had led the market higher for much of the morning. Volume was light during the half-day trading session ahead of the Independence Day holiday.
KEEPING SCORE: The S&P 500 index fell 13 points, or 0.5 percent, to 2,713. The Dow Jones Industrial Average slid 132 points, or 0.5 percent, to 24,174. The Nasdaq lost 65 points, or 0.8 percent, to 7,502. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks picked up 5 points, or 0.4 percent, to 1,660. U.S. markets closed at 1 p.m. EDT ahead of Wednesday’s Independence Day holiday.
THE QUOTE: “It’s listless,” said Scott Wren, senior global equity strategist for the Wells Fargo Investment Institute. “It’s certainly low volume. Most of these trading desks are probably manned by junior traders and they’re not going to initiate any big, crazy positions.”
BIG FRIDAY AHEAD: Investors will have no shortage of reasons to snap out of the holiday lull by the end of this week. On Friday the U.S. will start imposing a 25 percent tariff on $34 billion worth of Chinese imports. It won’t target an additional $16 billion worth of Chinese goods until it gathers further public comments. China is expected to strike back with tariffs on a similar amount of U.S. exports. The Trump administration is also identifying an additional $200 billion in Chinese goods for 10 percent tariffs, which could take effect if Beijing retaliates.
“The market might get worked up about a tit-for-tat retaliation, which we’ll probably see,” Wren said. “There’s a relatively low probability of an all-out trade war.”
Also on Friday, the Labor Department releases its tally of hiring in June by nonfarm employers.
TECH SLUMP: Technology stocks took some of the heaviest losses. Facebook slid 2.2 percent to $193.10.
BUMPY RIDE: Tesla slumped 6.2 percent to $314.35 after the electric car maker said its head of engineering has left after nearly five years at the company.
SOUP TALK: Campbell Soup climbed 2.7 percent to $41.38 after the New York Post reported an activist investor in in talks with shareholders about potentially selling the company.
COMFORTABLE OUTLOOK: Herman Miller jumped 9.7 percent to $37.80 after the furniture maker’s latest quarterly results topped Wall Street’s expectations. The company also issued a strong sales forecast.
ENERGY: Crude oil futures turned higher after an early wobble. Benchmark U.S. crude gained 5 cents to $73.99 a barrel in New York. The contract reached more than $75 a barrel in early trading. Brent crude, used to price international oils, was up 11 cents at $77.41 a barrel in London.
Energy stocks got a boost from the pickup in oil prices. Marathon Oil gained 2.7 percent to $21.22.
BOND YIELDS: Bond prices rose. The yield on the 10-year Treasury held fell to 2.85 percent from 2.87 percent late Monday.
CURRENCIES: The dollar fell to 110.59 yen from 110.86 yen on Monday. The euro strengthened to $1.1645 from $1.1610.
MARKETS OVERSEAS: Major stock indexes in Europe notched gains. Germany’s DAX rose 0.7 percent as German leaders put to rest fears that a weekslong dispute on migration may topple Chancellor Angela Merkel’s fourth government. France’s CAC 40 added 0.8 percent and Britain’s FTSE 100 gained 0.5 percent.
In Asia, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng closed 1.4 percent lower, while Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 index lost 0.1 percent. South Korea’s Kospi added 0.1 percent. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 rose 0.5 percent after the Reserve Bank of Australia kept its 1.5 percent benchmark interest rate unchanged.
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