Equities retreated on Tuesday, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average posting its steepest decline in almost three weeks as geopolitical concerns and domestic US worries teamed up to send investors seeking havens, pushing up gold futures and U.S. Treasury prices.
Financials plunged 2.2% on the S&P 500, leading losses among the 11 sectors. Energy held on for a 0.6% increase as oil prices climbed. Exxon Mobil ( XOM ) rose 0.8% after saying restart activities at its Baytown refinery are continuing in the wake of Hurricane Harvey, and pipelines are beginning to transport fuels.
But positive news was hard to find for the most part on Tuesday, as investors returned from the Labor Day weekend digesting a ramping-up of tensions between the US and North Korea after the latter tested another nuclear weapon. Domestically, investors were looking at President Donald Trump's repeal of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, and concern that it adds to an already crowded legislative agenda for Congress.
Microsoft ( MSFT ) President Brad Smith said reforming DACA should take priority over tax reform. Also adding to domestic worries was the fierce category five Hurricane Irma, which could hit Florida in the coming days. The CBOE Volatility index, a measure of expectations for near-term uncertainty, jumped 23%.
United Technologies ( UTX ) shares plunged 5.7% after it announced a $30 billion takeover of Rockwell Collins ( COL ). Goldman Sachs ( GS ) sank 3.6% as banks plunged, while Wal-Mart Stores (WMT) gained 1.8% as consumer staples stocks managed to stay afloat.
Here's where the markets stood by the close:
Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 234.25 points (-1.07%)
S&P 500 was down 18.70 points (-0.76%)
Nasdaq Composite Index was down 59.76 points (-0.93%)
FTSE 100 was down 0.52%
Nikkei 225 was down 0.63%
Hang Seng Index was flat
Shanghai China Composite Index was up 0.14%
(+) INSM (+119.61%) Phase 3 trial for rare lung disease therapy met primary endpoints
(+) APOP (+10.23%) FDA granted orphan drug status to ApoGraft
(+) PTEN (+6.7%) Acquires directional drilling services firm MS Energy for about $215 million
(+) BLPH (+4.42%) Reported topline results from phase 2 trial of InoPulse for ailment associated with COPD
(+) HD (+1.43%) Fitch assigned A rating to proposed debt sale, could be up to $1 billion
(-) CLLS (-20.26%) FDA places clinical hold on UCART123 studies following fatality
(-) MNK (-12.27%) Judge invalidates patents on respiratory treatment
(-) UTX (-5.69%) Agreed to buy Rockwell Collins ( COL ) for $140 per share
(-) CLMT (-4.76%) Janney downgrades stock to neutral from buy, lifts price target to $9 from $8.50
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