Close Update: Stocks Pressured by Downbeat Profit Forecasts, Decline in Consumer Confidence

Stocks traded lower on Tuesday as a decline in consumer confidence coupled with dour corporate forecasts for the fourth quarter from some of the Dow Jones' largest component stocks weighed on investor sentiment.

The blue-chip index closed below its 100-day moving average for an eleventh consecutive day led by losses in component stocks 3M ( MMM ), Home Depot ( HD ) and Caterpillar ( CAT ). Of the eleven S&P 500 sectors, utilities closed higher as a result of lower Treasury yields with consumer discretionary and material stocks taking the brunt of today's selling pressure. The consumer staple sector closed marginally higher.

Third quarter earnings poured in before the opening bell, and although most were better-than-expected, investors were unnerved by lackluster guidance from Under Armour ( UA ), Caterpillar, 3M ( MMM ) and Whirlpool ( WHR ) as the strength of the dollar, and impending exit of the UK from the European Union undermines growth forecasts for multinationals.

The negative tone was amplified by a sizable decay in consumer confidence. A week before election day, the Conference Board consumer confidence index fell to a 3-month low of 98.6 from a downward revised 103.5 in September, missing estimates to drop to 101.0. This corresponds to a 13-month low in a comparable survey by the University of Michigan as business and employment conditions deteriorate.

Housing prices, however, improved in August according to a pair of surveys from the Federal Housing Finance Agency and Case Shiller. The FHFA house price index increased by 0.7%, beating +0.5% estimates, while Cash Shiller was up an as-expected 0.2%.

Oil futures were lower as well with West Texas intermediate settling below $50 per barrel ahead of a weekly report expected to show rising inventories, and an important meeting of the Organization for Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) next month.

Here's where the markets stood at the close:


Dow Jones Industrial Index was down 53.76 points (-0.30%)

S&P 500 was down 8.17 points (-0.38%)

Nasdaq Composite Index was down 26.43 points (-0.50%)


FTSE 100 was up 0.45%

Nikkei 225 was up 0.76%

Hang Seng Index was down 0.17%

Shanghai China Composite Index was up 0.12%


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(+) PSTI (+7.24%) Innovative Medical makes $30 million equity investment

(+) SAEX (+6.28%) Received $24.4 million in Alaskan tax credits


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(-) CALA (-18.64%) Citigroup initiated coverage will sell rating and $1 price target

(-) SONC (-16.65%) Beat fiscal Q4 EPS estimates but missed sales expectations

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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