Technology and financial sectors lead losses
US stocks closed lower on Tuesday, 13 March 018 as the technology and financial sectors came under pressure even as investors mostly shrugged off President Donald Trump's decision to replace Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. Stocks had rallied earlier after closely watched consumer-inflation data was in line with expectations, helping to placate worries that rising prices would hasten interest-rate hikes by the Federal Reserve.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average which earlier was up nearly 200 points, fell 171.58 points, or 0.7%, to 25,007.03. The Nasdaq Composite Index ended a seven-session winning streak to slide 77.31 points, or 1%, to 7,511.01. The S&P 500 index dropped 17.71 points, or 0.6%, to 2,765.31.
Technology and financials were big losers, posting losses of at least 1%.
As for economic data, the U.S. consumer-price index rose a mild 0.2% in February after a worrisome 0.5% increase in the first month of the year. The gain was largely in line with Wall Street expectations. The gain nudged the yearly rate up to 2.2%, only a tick higher than expected.
A stronger-than-expected inflation number was feared as a potential catalyst to nudge the central bank closer to four hikes instead of the three that the Federal Reserve is expected to carry out, something that could weigh on stocks. The Fed is expected to increase interest rates in March, but the jury is out on how aggressively it will act beyond that.
Among stocks under focus, shares of Dick's Sporting Goods reversed earlier losses to rise 1% after the sporting goods retailer beat fiscal fourth-quarter profit expectations, but missed on sales and provided a downbeat outlook. Micron Technology edged up after Mizuho raised its price target to $66, the third firm to raise its target this week.
Bullion prices ended higher at Comex on Tuesday, 13 March 2018. Gold prices on Tuesday logged their largest one-day gain in a week as the U.S. dollar softened and President Donald Trump Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was replaced by Mike Pompeo, current director of the Central Intelligence Agency, helping to boost haven demand for the yellow metal. The greenback had given up an earlier advance when a reading on U.S. consumer-level inflation came in largely as expected and tempered expectations that the Federal Reserve could turn more aggressive with interest-rate moves this year.
April gold rose $6.30, or 0.5%, to settle at $1,327.10 an ounce after tapping an earlier low of $1,313.80. That was the biggest single session dollar and percentage rise since 6 March. May silver rose 9.1 cents, or 0.6%, to $16.627 an ounce.
Crude oil prices end lower on Tuesday, 13 March 2018, down a fourth session in five, as traders braced for a potential third weekly rise in U.S. crude supplies. Prices gave up earlier gains seen in the wake of risks to the Iran nuclear deal from U.S. President Donald Trump's ouster of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.
April West Texas Intermediate crude fell 65 cents, or 1.1%, to settle at $60.71 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, reversing course after trading earlier at highs near $62.
May Brent crude, the global oil benchmark, lost 31 cents, or 0.5%, to $64.64 a barrel after losing 0.8% a day earlier on the ICE Futures Europe exchange.
In the bond market, U.S. Treasuries ended Tuesday on a mostly higher note, with longer-dated issues pacing the advance. The benchmark 10-yr yield, which moves inversely to the price of the 10-yr Treasury note, slipped two basis points to 2.85%. Meanwhile, the 2-yr yield finished flat at 2.26%.
Looking ahead, investors will receive a sizable batch of economic data on Wednesday: Retail Sales for February (consensus +0.3%) and the Producer Price Index for February (consensus +0.1%) will both be released at 8:30 AM ET, while the less influential Business Inventories report for January (consensus +0.6%) will cross the wires at 10:00 AM ET. Also of note, the Energy Information Administration will release its weekly crude inventory report at 10:30 AM ET.
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