The major domestic equity indexes advanced modestly on Tuesday as higher oil prices lifted the energy sector, but another day of lower Facebook shares curbed gains.
Oil prices rose more than 2 percent to touch a three-week high, driven by tensions in the Middle East and the possibility of further declines in Venezuelan crude output. Those gains helped the S&P energy index rise 0.84 percent, making it easily the best performing of the 11 major S&P 500 sectors.
Facebook ended the trading day with a loss of only 2.6 percent, a number that was well above earlier lows. The social media company said on Tuesday it faced questions from the U.S. Federal Trade Commission about how its users’ personal data was mined by a political consultancy hired by President Donald Trump’s campaign.
The stock has fallen about 9 percent over the past two sessions, its largest two-day decline since February 2016, a drop that has weighed heavily on equities.
U.S. and European lawmakers have demanded an explanation of how the consultancy, Cambridge Analytica, gained access to the data and why Facebook failed to inform its users, raising broader industry questions about consumer privacy and whether tougher regulation is on the horizon.
Facebook was not the only social media stock or fund taking a hit on Tuesday. Shares of Snap fell 2.56 percent, while Twitter tumbled 10.38 percent. The Global X Social Media ETF lost 0.9 percent.
Oracle fell 9.4 percent after the business software maker reported lower-than-expected quarterly revenue.
The financial sector index edged up 0.21 percent as investors awaited a near-certain interest rate hike at the end of the Federal Reserve’s two-day meeting on Wednesday.
Market participants largely expect a total of three rate hikes this year, although some have not ruled out the possibility the Fed will hike four times.
Approximately 6.26 billion shares changed hands on the major domestic equity exchanges on Tuesday, as compared to the 7.17 billion share average volume for the full session over the past 20 trading days.