Wall Street surrendered its early morning gains after reports said U.S. President Donald Trump's economic advisor might resign if the White House goes through with trade tariffs, and as the S&P 500 faced resistance at its 50-day moving average.
Led by losses in Walmart ( WMT ) and UnitedHealth ( UNH ), the blue chip index is more than 100 points underwater. And although FAANG stocks (Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Netflix and Google) are helping the Nasdaq, the tech-heavy index is struggling to stay positive at midday on Tuesday.
Shares were in rally mode during premarket trade as investors responded favorably to peaceful overtures by North Korea and indications Trump's trade tariffs are not going over well with lawmakers or business leaders. Dow futures were indicating a triple-digit gain at the open, even as factory orders posted a larger-than-expected decline in January.
Sentiment soured after the open, though, on media reports Gary Cohn, Trump's economic advisor and a former Wall Street banker, would resign if the president imposed steel and aluminium tariffs and set off a trade war with the U.S.' largest trading partners. Discord within the White House weighed on Wall Street, driving share prices into negative territory.
European shares were largely insulated from the trade war dynamics that captivated U.S. investors with most bourses across the continent closing with modest gains. The UK's FTSE-100 outperformed its peers on strength in the grocery sector, and on a rally in shares of Smurfit Kappa after the company rejected an acquisition offer from International Paper ( IP ). The Euro Stoxx was marginally lower in tandem with a four-day run higher in the euro and higher EU bond yields.
Crude oil was down $0.26 to $62.41 per barrel. Natural gas was up $0.03 to $2.73 per 1 million BTU. Gold was up $19.00 to $1,338.90 an ounce, while silver was up $0.44 to $16.86 an ounce. Copper was up $0.04 to $3.16 per pound.
Among energy ETFs, the United States Oil Fund was down 0.33% to $12.54 with the United States Natural Gas Fund was up 1.42% to $22.85. Amongst precious-metal funds, the Market Vectors Gold Miners ETF was up 2.44% to 22.07 while SPDR Gold Shares were up 1.31% to $126.82. The iShares Silver Trust was up 2.36% to $15.85.
Here's where the markets stand at mid-day:
NYSE Composite Index was down 8.35 points (-0.61%) to 12,673.04
Dow Jones Industrial Index was down 124.46 points (-0.50%) to 24,750.30
S&P 500 was down 2.73% (-0.13%) to 2,717.50
Nasdaq Composite Index up 11.69 points (+0.57%) to 7,343.34
FTSE 100 was up 30.77 points (+0.43%) to 7,146.75
DAX was up 23.00 points (+0.19%) to 12,113.87
CAC 40 was up 3.00 points (+0.06%) to 5,170.23
Nikkei 225 was up 375.67 points (+1.79%) to 21,417.76
Hang Seng Index was up 624.34 points (+2.09%) to 30,510.73
Shanghai China Composite Index was up 33.25 points (+1.02%) to 3,290.17
NYSE SECTOR INDICES
NYSE Energy Sector Index was up 21.64 points (+0.20%) to 10,779.20
NYSE Financial Sector Index was down 4.08 points (-0.05%) to 8,234.06
NYSE Healthcare Sector Index was down 105.72 points (-0.73%) to 14,293.38
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