The major domestic equity indexes closed out the trading day on the negative side of the ledger on Tuesday, weighed down by lingering uncertainty over the outcome of trade talks between the United States and China and declines in energy and industrial shares.
President Donald Trump on Tuesday said he was not pleased with recent trade talks between the United States and China and earlier said there was no deal yet with China on ZTE.
Trump floated a plan to fine ZTE and shake up its management after his administration considering rolling back more severe penalties imposed for violating U.S. sanctions by shipping goods to Iran.
Trump also said there was a “substantial chance” his summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un will not take place as planned on June 12.
The president’s comments come after Treasury Secretary Mnuchin said over the weekend that the two countries had put the prospect of a trade war “on hold” and agreed to hold more talks to boost U.S. exports to China.
The industrial sector index fell 1.3 percent, a day after posting its best percentage gain in nearly two months on the trade truce, while the energy index also fell 1.3 percent.
Tesla fell 3.3 percent, sending the stock to its lowest close since early April, a day after Consumer Reports said the company’s new Model 3 car, despite many positives, had “big flaws,” highlighting issues with braking.
Tesla Chief Executive Elon Musk late on Monday tweeted that the braking flaw can be fixed with a software update, and Consumer Reports said it would retest the brakes.
Shares of Micron Technology were up 6.4 percent after the memory-chip maker announced a $10 billion stock-buyback plan.
The financial sector index rose 0.6 percent on hopes that a bill aimed at easing bank rules, put in place after the financial crisis, could be passed as soon as this week.
The consumer discretionary index fell 0.5 percent after warnings from retailer Kohl’s and auto parts seller Autozone. Kohl’s closed out the trading day down 7.4 percent, weighing on other retailers, after forecasting slower growth in the second half of the year. Autozone ended the day down 9.5 percent after warning that higher costs would persist due to wage pressure.
Steel stocks climbed after the United States said it would slap steep import duties on steel products with origins in China but shipped from Vietnam to evade anti-dumping orders.
Ford, General Motors and Fiat Chrysler chalked up small gains after Beijing announced tariff cuts on car imports.
Approximately 6.2 billion shares changed hands on the major domestic equity exchanges, as compared to the 6.6 billion share daily average for the past 20 trading days, according to Thomson Reuters data.
Crude Prices Fall on OPEC Concerns
Oil prices edged lower on Wednesday as the market took a breather on expectations OPEC may raise supplies as early as June, although geopolitical risks kept a floor under the market.
Brent crude futures fell 4 cents to $79.53 a barrel, after climbing 35 cents on Tuesday. Last week, the global benchmark hit $80.50 a barrel, the highest since November 2014. Meanwhile, West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures eased 2 cents to $72.18 a barrel, having climbed on Tuesday to $72.83 a barrel, the highest since November 2014.
OPEC may decide to raise oil output as soon as June due to worries over Iranian and Venezuelan supply and after Washington raised concerns the oil rally was going too far, OPEC and oil industry sources familiar with the discussions told Reuters.
The OPEC-led supply curbs have largely cleared an inventory surplus in industrialized countries based on the deal’s original goals, and stocks continue to decline. At the same time, increased supply in the United States, where shale production is forecast to hit a record high in June, has limited the upward move in prices.
Concerns over a potential drop in Iranian oil exports following Washington’s exit from a nuclear arms control deal with Tehran have driven prices to multi-year highs.
On Monday, the United States demanded Iran make sweeping changes – from dropping its nuclear program to pulling out of the Syrian civil war – or face severe economic sanctions. Iran dismissed Washington’s ultimatum and one senior Iranian official said it showed the United States is seeking “regime change” in Iran.
According to a report by the American Petroleum Institute on Tuesday, domestic crude and distillate stockpiles fell last week, while gasoline inventories increased unexpectedly.