Boeing was one of the day’s biggest drags
U.S. stocks closed lower Tuesday, with major indexes turning decisively negative in afternoon trading and ending near their lows of the day as uncertainty over trade policy and other geopolitical issues remained high.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA, +0.58% fell 178.88 points, or 0.7%, to 24,834.41. The S&P 500 SPX, +0.37% lost 8.57 points, or 0.3%, to 2,724.44. Among the day’s biggest decliners were industrial stocks, a sector that is heavily correlated with trade concerns. The group lost 1.3% while the materials sector lost 0.9%.
The Nasdaq Composite Index COMP, -0.22% lost 15.58 points, or 0.2%, to 7,378.46.
Trade policy continued to be a primary driver for investors, and the issue grew clouded on Tuesday. Asked if he was happy with how U.S.-China trade talks were going, President Donald Trump told reporters, “Not really,” and said negotiations “have a long way to go.”
Optimism over trade had spurred a stock rally in Monday’s session, after Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said that the Trump administration would “put the trade war on hold” while working out details of a deal between the countries. Trump’s comments seemed to offset Mnuchin’s view.
Other geopolitical tensions also continued to hover in the background, with uncertainty over a historic meeting between Trump and North Korea’s dictator Kim Jong Un. Vice President Mike Pence warned in an interview late Monday that North Korea cannot “play” Trump where nuclear disarmament is concerned. On Tuesday, Trump said a planned summit with Un may happen later than currently scheduled.
Meanwhile, laying out new demands for Iran on Monday, the White House said any new nuclear deal with the U.S. would require Iran to stop enriching uranium and to pull its support for militant groups in the Middle East. The demands were met by immediate rejection from Iran.
“For the moment, investors are taking a wait-and-see attitude with respect to the [trade] negotiations, especially with the other geopolitical issues weighing on the market,” said Jeff Kravetz, regional investment strategist at U.S. Bank Wealth Management.
“Issues like the future of the North Korea summit or negotiations with Iran are things that investors are very concerned about, though they’re more psychological than things that would have a major economic impact. Our view is that markets will move higher over the remainder of the year, but it will be a volatile journey to get there.”
Among notable decliners in the industrial space, Boeing Co. BA, -0.05% lost 2.5% while Caterpillar Inc. CAT, +0.42% ended down 1.7%. 3M Co.MMM, +0.34% fell 1.4%. All three were among the biggest decliners on both the Dow and the S&P.
Kohl’s Corp. KSS, -2.08% sank 7.4% despite better-than-expected earnings and an upbeat outlook.
Shares of Micron Technology Inc. MU, -2.86% rallied 6.4% after the company raised its third-quarter outlook and announced a large stock-buyback program. The gain supported chip makers overall; the PHLX Semiconductor index SOX, -0.66% rose 0.6%.
U.S.-listed shares of Sony Corp. SNE, +1.26% 6758, +0.16% fell 2.8% after the Japanese multinational conglomerate said it has agreed to buy Mubadala Investment Co.’s stake in EMI Music Publishing in a roughly $2.3 billion deal.
The dollar was continuing to retrace gains on Tuesday, while the 10-year U.S. Treasury note yield TMUBMUSD10Y, +0.12% was hovering around 3.07% after touching a seven-year intraday high of 3.126% on Friday.
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Gold futures GCM8, +0.20% inched up 0.1% to $1,292.00 an ounce a day after settling at its lowest level of 2018. The ICE U.S. Dollar Index DXY, -0.18%DXY, -0.18% fell 0.1% to 93.530, as the pound strengthened against the buckGBPUSD, +0.2492% .
Bank of England policy maker Gertjan Vlieghe reportedly predicted up to two interest-rate increases a year, as officials testified in front of the U.K. Treasury committee.