Thursday's lull in trading came after record highs yesterday. Pull backs in utilities, financials and healthcare outweighed gains in technology and consumer discretionary.
The Dow Jones industrial average slipped 97 points to 26,017.81, a decline of -0.37%. The setback in the S&P 500 index amounted to four points or -0.16% to 2,798.03. Real estate led the laggards as declining bond prices exerted pressure on shares in defensive stocks like utilities and real estate. NASDAQ slid -0.03% to 2,798.03.
Leading the winners was AES Corp., which jumped over 11% in trading today along with expectations by investor. The utility giant, which finished at +7.56% at close, rose because activist investor, Jeffrey Ubben, founder of ValueAct Capital Management joined its board and will push for more renewable energy. Viacom also added gains up +6.23%. Among winning tech shares were Apple up +0.09%, eBay up +1.97% and Facebook added +1.24%. Advanced Micro Devices rose +2.38% while Alphabet slid -0.19% and Microsoft fell -0.04%.
- Dow 26,017.81 -0.37%
- S&P 500 2,798.03 -0.16%
- NASDAQ 7,296.05 -0.03%
- Russell 2000 1,576.73 -0.63%
- NYSE Composite 13,315.91 -0.27%
- Gold $1,327.1 -0.90%
- Oil WTI $63.81 -0.25%
- 10-Year Treasury 2.619 -0.28bps
The S&P energy sector fell -0.88% as brent crude fell below $69 a barrel earlier in trading. Although US crude storage stockpiles declined 6.8 million barrels last week according to the Energy Information Adminstration, production remains high and is a crucial concern for investors. Light crude and brent both slipped with West Texas Intermediate for February delivery dropping 2 cents to $63.95 a barrel and brent crude fell 7 cents to finish at $69.31 a barrel.
Shutdown averted - maybe
The threat of a potential US shutdown loomed in the background to trading today but investors shrugged off political concerns as earnings continues to preoccupy.
Earlier today, a tweet from President Trump threw doubt over a bipartisan plan for a short-term extension to avoid a government shutdown on Friday. Trrump tweeted that a Democratic priority, a six-year extension of funding for the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) should not be included in the stopgap measure.
The White House later rowed back on the tweet and said the President fully backed the proposal. However, confusion reigned as to whether there were enough votes to keep the government open past the deadline on Friday. Jonathan Bernstein in Bloomberg View explains how Republicans while likely manage to keep the government running, have managed to tie themselves into knots unnecessarily.