Midway through trading Tuesday, the Dow traded up 0.08 percent to 20,666.90 while the NASDAQ fell 0.07 percent to 5,890.42. The S&P also fell, dropping 0.14 percent to 2,355.53.
Leading and Lagging Sectors
On Tuesday, the basic materials sector proved to be a source of strength for the market. Leading the sector was strength from Endeavour Silver Corp (NYSE: EXK ) and DRDGOLD Ltd. (ADR) (NYSE: DRD ).
In trading on Tuesday, cyclical consumer goods & services shares fell 0.41 percent. Meanwhile, top losers in the sector included Acuity Brands, Inc. (NYSE: AYI ), down 14 percent, and CompX International Inc. (NYSE: CIX ), down 7 percent.
Acuity Brands, Inc. (NYSE: AYI ) reported weaker-than-expected results for its second quarter on Tuesday.
Acuity Brands reported Q2 earnings of $1.77 per share on revenue of $804.7 million. Analysts expected earnings of $1.83 per share on revenue of $828 million.
Equities Trading UP
Benitec Biopharma Ltd (ADR) (NASDAQ: BNTC ) shares shot up 56 percent to $4.76. Benitec Biopharma disclosed that the key pre-clinical data on oculopharyngeal muscular dystrophy has been published in Nature Communications.
Shares of General Communication, Inc. (NASDAQ: GNCMA ) got a boost, shooting up 65 percent to $33.92 after Liberty Interactive Corporation (NASDAQ: LVNTA ) announced plans to acquire General Communication for $1.12 billion.
Conn's Inc (NASDAQ: CONN ) shares were also up, gaining 27 percent to $10.71 after the company reported better-than-expected earnings for its fourth quarter.
Equities Trading DOWN
Seadrill Ltd (NYSE: SDRL ) shares dropped 55 percent to $0.759. Seadrill and its banking group agreed to extend a series of key dates as part of restructuring efforts.
Shares of NewLink Genetics Corp (NASDAQ: NLNK ) were down around 17 percent to $19.06. NewLink Genetics disclosed that the interim Phase 2 data showed 52 percent ORR on 50 patients who received combination of indoximod plus pembrolizumab. Patients with non-ocular melanoma achieved a 59 percent ORR.
Kate Spade & Co (NASDAQ: KATE ) was down, falling around 15 percent to $19.36. Kate Spade will spend more time negotiating a sale after receiving an offer from Coach Inc (NYSE: COH ), according to Reuters.
In commodity news, oil traded up 0.80 percent to $50.64 while gold traded up 0.42 percent to $1,259.30.
Silver traded up 0.70 percent Tuesday to $18.34, while copper rose 0.12 percent to $2.61.
European shares were mostly higher today. The eurozone's STOXX 600 gained 0.15 percent, the Spanish Ibex Index rose 0.07 percent, while Italy's FTSE MIB Index fell 0.29 percent. Meanwhile the German DAX gained 0.12 percent, and the French CAC 40 climbed 0.12 percent while U.K. shares rose 0.42 percent.
The U.S. trade deficit declined around 10 percent to $43.6 billion in February. Analysts were expecting a deficit of $44.8 billion.
The Johnson Redbook Retail Sales Index rose 1.1 percent year-over-year for the first five weeks of March.
U.S. factory orders rose 1 percent for February, versus economists' expectations for a 1 percent growth.
The Treasury will auction 4-week bills at 11:30 a.m. ET.
Federal Reserve Governor Daniel Tarullo is set to speak in Princeton, N.J. at 4:30 p.m. ET.
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