Closing Update: Stocks Find Direction Late, Falling to Session Lows Near Close
Stocks turned solidly and broadly lower Tuesday afternoon, retreating following a listless first half of the session that followed new economic data packed with conflicting views of the housing industry. Blue-chips suffered the steepest declines in the afternoon slump, down over 100 points for the worst performance in a month. The broader S&P 500 only narrowly trailed the Dow Jones Industrial Average in the slide. Eight of 10 industry sectors in the S&P 500 fell, with shares of healthcare and utility companies posting small gains in increasingly cautious trade.
In economic news, the S&P Case-Shiller index of housing prices in 20 U.S. cities climbed 1.1%, topping the market consensus expecting a 0.8% advance. Prices increased in all 20 cities.
But the Federal Housing Finance Agency reported that housing prices were flat in April. Economists polled by Econoday had expected a 0.5% gain.
New-home sales surged 18.6% in May to an annualized rate of 504,000 units, far better than estimates for 441,000 units.
Also today, the Conference Board's index of consumer attitudes came in above expectations, climbing another 3 points over May levels to final reading of 85.2 this month.
Crude oil for August delivery reversed its earlier gain, settling 17 cents lower at $106.01 per barrel while July natural gas was up 8 cents to $4.53 per 1 million BTU. August gold added $2.80 to settle at $1,321.20 per ounce while July silver rose 13 cents to $21.05 per ounce. July copper was unchanged at $3.15 per pound.
Here's where the U.S. markets stood at end-of-day:
Dow Jones Industrial Average down 119 (-0.7%) to 16,818
S&P 500 down 12.63 (-0.6%) to 1,949
Nasdaq Composite Index down 18.32 (-0.4%) to 4,350.36
Hang Seng Index up 0.33%
Shanghai China Composite Index up 0.47%
FTSE 100 Index down 0.20%
(+) VRTX, Rises to all-time high after saying a combination of its Kalydeco and lumacaftor drug candidates performed well during late-stage testing in patients with the most common form of cystic fibrosis.
(+) XGTI, Teaming with prime contractor Science Applications International ( SAIC ) as a subcontractor on a $497 mln, five-year contract award by the U.S. Army for space-based and terrestrial networking and communications services.
(+) XNET, Consumer Internet platform prices initial public offering of 7.315 mln American depositary shares of its common stock at $12 apiece, topping its expected range of $9 to $11 a share.
(-) OHRP, Said 65% of patients with wet aged-related macular degeneration treated with Squalamine eye drops plus Lucentis demonstrated improved visual acuity compared with patients treated with a placebo and Lucentis during Phase II testing.
(-) GIGA, Narrows fiscal Q4 net loss to $1.3 mln, or $0.25 per share, from $1.6 mln loss in year-ago quarter. Net sales rise 3.5% year over year to $2.9 mln. No analyst estimates were available for comparison.
(-) WWWW, Google ( GOOG ) said it plans to move into domain-name registry business, launching a beta site and becoming a direct WWWW competitor. Following GOOG's announcement, B. Riley cut its rating for WWWW shares to Neutral from Buy.