Trade-sensitive industrials dragged Wall Street lower on Tuesday as tensions over tariffs between the United States and its European trading partners went from simmer to boil and the IMF lowered its global growth outlook.
All three major domestic stock indexes ended the trading day in the red, with the S&P 500 index ending its eight-day rally. A key reason was Trump’s statement that he would impose tariffs on $11 billion of European goods, raising tensions over aircraft subsidies that threaten to morph into a wider trade war.
Trade disputes, along with Britain’s potentially messy exit from the European Union, led the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to cut its global economic growth forecasts and warn that further cuts could follow.
First-quarter earnings season is set to begin in earnest, with Delta Airlines reporting on Wednesday and JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo expected to report on Friday, kicking off a first quarter earnings season.
There is a high probability that we will see a year-on-year decline in earnings for the first time since 2016, with earnings for S&P 500 companies falling by 2.5 percent from last year, according to Refinitiv data.
Boeing extended its slump after reporting a drop-in delivery related to the grounding of its 737 MAX jets. Its shares fell 1.5 percent. The grounded Boeing aircraft led American Airlines to trim its first-quarter revenue forecasts. The airliner’s stock was down 1.7 percent.
U.S. Steel fell 10.0 percent following Credit Suisse’s downgrade of the stock to “underperform.” Wynn Resorts Ltd dipped 3.9 percent after ending takeover talks with Crown Resorts.
The Philadelphia SE Semiconductor index backed off from Monday’s record high, falling 1.1 percent.
Among the day’s winners, Facebook rose 1.5 percent after Morgan Stanley upped its price target, citing growing revenues from its Instagram segment.
Levi Strauss rose 2.7 percent ahead of its first quarterly report since its IPO.
Disney chalked up a gain of 1.7 percent following Cowen’s upgrade to “outperform.”
Approximately 6.31 billion shares changed hands on the major domestic equity exchanges, as compared to the 7.26 billion share average over the past 20 trading days.
Job Openings Fall
Job openings decreased in February by the most since 2015 although they still exceeded the number of unemployed Americans, a sign of some potential relaxation in what has been a consistently tight labor market.
The number of positions waiting to be filled decreased by 538,000 to 7.09 million from an upwardly revised 7.63 million openings in the prior month, according to the Labor Department’s Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey, or JOLTS, released Tuesday.
The quits rate held at 2.3 percent for a ninth straight month, indicating Americans feel confident in their ability to find new employment.
The sizable decline may reflect temporary factors after an unexpectedly weak February jobs report, which was followed by a hiring rebound in March that suggests employment gains remain broadly intact.
The JOLTS report lags other Labor Department data by a month, but it adds context to monthly employment figures by measuring dynamics such as resignations and hiring.
The data signal employers may be having an easier time finding workers even amid historically low unemployment and wage gains near the best pace of the expansion. Employers have struggled to attract employees and fill positions in recent months despite steady pay gains.
The total for quits held steady as 3.48 million Americans voluntarily left their jobs. Federal Reserve policy makers watch this measure for signs of upward pressure on worker pay that may feed into inflation, which has lingered below the central bank’s target level.
Despite the decline, openings still outnumbered the total number of unemployed Americans by about 852,000 in February, though the gap narrowed to less than 1 million for the first time in eight months.
Hiring eased to 5.7 million from 5.83 million the prior month. Separations increased slightly to 5.56 million.
The decrease in openings was led by accommodation and food services, which fell by 103,000, along with real estate and rental and leasing; and transportation, warehousing and utilities. Openings fell in all four regions.