All the three key indexes started the day strongly after in-line consumer-inflation data subdued rate hike fears. However, benchmarks finished in negative territory on Tuesday after Trump administration dismissed U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. Additionally, Trump ordered Broadcom to abandon the planned takeover of Qualcomm, following which shares of Qualcomm declined and weighed on the broader markets.
How the Benchmarks Fared?
The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) decreased 0.6%, or 156.64 points, to close at 25,178.61. The S&P 500 fell 0.1% to close at 2,783.02. However, the tech-laden Nasdaq Composite Index closed at 7,588.33, gaining 0.4%. The fear-gauge CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) increased 7% to close at 15.67. A total of 6.52 billion shares were traded on Monday, lower than the last 20-session average of 7.2 billion shares. Advancers outnumbered decliners on the NYSE by a 1.22-to-1 ratio. On Nasdaq, a 1.45-to-1 ratio favored advancing issues.
Tillerson Replaced With CIA Director Pompeo
On Tuesday, President Trump ousted Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, the former CEO of Exxon Mobil Inc. (XOM), from his position. Tillerson will be replaced with CIA Director Mike Pompeo, while Pompeo's position will be taken over by Gina Haspel, CIA's deputy director. Haspel will become the first woman director of the CIA. Tillerson's ouster had a broad-based negative impact on key indexes with the Dow registering a decline of more than 170 points, while the Nasdaq ended its seven day long streak of gains.
Meanwhile, the Labor Department reported that Consumer Price Index (CPI) increased 0.2% in February, in line with the consensus estimate. This figure was lower than January's increase of 0.5%. Core CPI, which excludes food and energy prices, gained 0.2% last month, also in line with the consensus estimate of 0.2%. Core CPI's gain was less than January's increase of 0.3%.
Although, an increase in the key rate seems certain this month, in line consumer inflation data reduced concerns over the pace of Fed rate hikes this year. Following this development, the Financial Select Sector SPDR (XLF) declined 1.1%, becoming the second worst performing sector among the S&P 500. Dow components from this sector, JPMorgan Chase & Co. JPM and The Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. GS fell 1.2% and 1.8%, respectively.
Broadcom Biggest Laggard In The S&P 500
Shares of QUALCOMM Incorporated QCOM slumped 5% after the White House issued a statement saying that the "proposed takeover" of QUALCOMM by Broadcom Inc. AVGO "is prohibited." Citing concerns over national security signed an Executive Order late on Monday, President Trump ordered both the companies to "immediately and permanently abandon the proposed takeover."
Broadcom was the worst performing stock among both the S&P 500 and the Technology Select Sector SPDR (XLK). The sector fell 1.2% with two of its key holdings, Microsoft Corporation MSFT , Facebook, Inc. FB and Alphabet Inc. GOOGL increasing 2.4%, 1.6% and 2.2%, respectively. Alphabet has a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). You can see the complete list of today's Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.
Stocks That Made Headlines
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