July 2, 2019 / 6:23 PM / 5 months ago

US STOCKS-Stocks stall as trade enthusiasm fades

* USTR threatens $4 bln in additional tariffs on EU goods

* Energy falls the most among S&P 500 sectors

* Dow up 0.05%, S&P 500 up 0.05%, Nasdaq down 0.11% (Updates to mid-afternoon; adds dateline, changes byline)

By Chuck Mikolajczak

NEW YORK, July 2 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks held near the unchanged mark on Tuesday as optimism over the U.S.-China trade truce faded after the United States threatened tariffs on additional European goods, stalling a recent rally.

Washington’s proposed tariffs on $4 billion worth of EU goods in a long-running dispute over aircraft subsidies unnerved investors and came just as trade tensions with China seemed to be easing.

Stocks had rallied to push the S&P 500 to a record on Monday in the wake of the U.S. trade truce with China, but stocks finished well off their highs as investors questioned the lack of details in the agreement. The S&P 500 had rallied nearly 7% in June on hopes the two largest economies in the world would find a way to end their trade war.

“There really was this expectation on the inside of the Street that Trump would deliver on something that gave a lift to confidence and lift to the prospects for international trade -that is really what fueled the move,” said Peter Kenny of Kenny’s Commentary LLC and Strategic Board Solutions LLC.

“Now that is done, now that is in the rear view mirror, what is next?”

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 1.74 points, or 0.01%, to 26,719.17, the S&P 500 gained 1.03 points, or 0.03%, to 2,965.36 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 6.51 points, or 0.08%, to 8,084.65.

With U.S. and global economic data showing signs of slowing, Kenny said the focus for investors will now turn to monetary policy and the upcoming earnings season.

The softening data triggered a drop of about 3% in crude oil prices despite an agreement among oil producers to extend supply cuts and pushed the energy sector down 1.94%, the biggest drag on markets.

Oil majors Exxon Mobil Corp and Chevron Corp declined more than 1% each, while Apache Corp slumped more than 5%.

Cleveland Fed President Loretta Mester, a Federal Reserve policymaker, on Tuesday expressed skepticism that a U.S. interest rate cut is the right move until there are more signs the economy is moving to a truly weaker path.

Market participants still expect the Fed to cut interest rates at its July 30-31 policy meeting, despite the latest developments in trade talks.

Automatic Data Processing lost 3.21%, pressuring the tech-heavy Nasdaq, after market sources said brokerage Jefferies is re-offering 8 million of the company’s shares at a discount.

L3Harris Technologies gained 4.01%, making it the best performer on the S&P 500, after Jefferies added the defense contractor to its top picks for aerospace and defense electronics for the second half of 2019.

Gilead Sciences Inc rose 1.04% after the drugmaker said it will submit a new drug application for its arthritis drug to the FDA this year.

Investors are now awaiting the monthly jobs report on Friday, which is expected to show the private sector added 160,000 jobs in June, after May’s sharp slowdown in jobs growth.

Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by a 1.03-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 1.58-to-1 ratio favored decliners.

The S&P 500 posted 34 new 52-week highs and 1 new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 54 new highs and 45 new lows. (Reporting by Shreyashi Sanyal & Uday Sampath in Bengaluru; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila and Dan Grebler)

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