The S&P 500 index took a breather on Tuesday, after Monday’s strong quarterly kickoff as a decline in shares of Walgreens Boots Alliance weighed and economic data did little to ease growth concerns.
Walgreens fell 12.8% after the company reduced its 2019 earnings forecast and reported a quarterly number that missed consensus estimates.
The S&P 500 consumer staples index, which includes Walgreens, fell 0.8%. Shares of rival CVS Health fell 3.8%. Shares of drug wholesalers AmerisourceBergen, Cardinal Health and McKesson were also down.
Walgreens shares weighed the most on all three of Wall Street’s major indexes. CVS and the drug wholesalers were also among the largest drags on the S&P 500.
The Nasdaq moved higher, however, as shares of Facebook rose 3.3%.
Data indicating that new orders for key capital goods fell in February and that shipments were flat did little to lift the tepid sentiment.
Orders for non-defense capital goods excluding aircraft, or core capital goods orders, a closely watched proxy for business spending plans, fell 0.1%. The data comes on the heels of a survey showing a surprise rebound in China’s manufacturing activity and better-than-expected U.S. numbers, which drove the S&P 500 to near six-month highs on Monday.
Despite coming under pressure, the S&P 500 is only 2.2% below a record closing high hit in late September as the Federal Reserve has paused interest-rate hikes and investors have grown optimistic about a resolution to the U.S.-China trade war.
Yet with the first-quarter corporate earnings reporting season about two weeks away, investors are bracing for what may be the first corporate profit decline since 2016. The consensus is for quarterly earnings to decline about 2 percent, according to Refinitiv data.
Airline shares received a lift from Delta Air Lines better-than-expected first-quarter earnings forecast. Its shares rose 6.0 percent, while the Dow Jones US Airlines index advanced 2.8 percent.
Dow rose 5.1 percent in the company’s stock market debut following its spinoff from DowDuPont Inc.
Approximately 6.45 billion shares changed hands on the major domestic equity exchanges, as compared to the 7.46 billion share average over the past 20 trading days.