Belfast Telegraph

US stocks close lower, ending Dow's 10-day winning streak

Losses in health care and consumer-focused companies pulled US stocks broadly lower, snapping a 10-day winning streak for the Dow Jones industrial average.

Energy stocks also fell along with the price of crude oil. Only utilities sector stocks eked out a gain on a day of mostly listless trading as investors kept an eye on the latest company earnings and geopolitical news.

The market slide accelerated slightly in the last half-hour of trading as President Donald Trump denounced North Korea's nuclear programme.

The remarks followed a new report asserting that US intelligence has assessed that Pyongyang has successfully produced a nuclear warhead that can fit inside its missiles.

"That may have weighed a little bit" on markets, said Phil Guarco, global investment specialist JP Morgan Private Bank.

The Standard & Poor's 500 index fell 5.99 points, or 0.2%, to 2,474.92. The Dow slid 33.08 points, or 0.2%, to 22,085.34. The S&P 500 and Dow were both coming off record highs.

The Nasdaq composite lost 13.31 points, or 0.2%, to 6,370.46. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks gave up 4.02 points, or 0.3%, to 1,410.15.

Bond prices were little changed. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note held steady at 2.26%.

The market indexes wavered between small gains and losses for much of the morning, then veered lower by afternoon. The slide deepened after Mr Trump's remarks on North Korea aired.

At a briefing on opioid addiction at his golf course in Bedminster, New Jersey, Mr Trump warned North Korea not to make any more threats against the United States, adding that it would be "met with fire and fury like the world has never seen".

The VIX, a measure of how much volatility investors expect in stocks, jumped 10.4%.

Beyond geopolitical concerns, investors continued to size up company earnings reports.

Avis Budget Group slumped 9.9% after the car rental company cut its guidance following a weak second quarter. The stock fell 3.30 to 30.09 dollars.

SeaWorld Entertainment slid 6.2% after the theme park operator reported second-quarter revenue that fell short of Wall Street's expectations. The stock fell 85 cents to 12.76.

Traders snapped up shares in companies that delivered strong quarterly results.

Michael Kors climbed 21.5% after the luxury handbag and apparel designer and retailer's latest quarterly results beat analysts' forecasts as sales improved. The stock was the biggest gainer in the S&P 500, adding 8.02 to 45.25 dollars.

Ralph Lauren gained 10.38, or 13.3%, to 88.53 dollars, while peer-to-peer loan company LendingClub added 99 cents, or 18.1%, to 6.45.

Health care equipment and services company Henry Schein declined amid a broader slide by health care stocks. Its shares slid 9.77, or 5.3%, to 174.02 dollars.

Benchmark US crude fell 22 cents to 49.17 dollars a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude, the international standard, lost 23 cents to 52.14 dollars a barrel in London.

In other energy futures trading, wholesale gasoline dipped one cent to 1.62 dollars a gallon. Heating oil fell one cent to 1.63 a gallon. Natural gas gained two cents to 2.82 dollars per 1,000 cubic feet.

Gold fell 2.10 to 1,262.60 dollars an ounce. Silver gained 14 cents to 16.39 an ounce. Copper rose four cents to 2.94 a pound.

The US dollar fell to 110.48 yen from 110.72 yen late on Monday. The euro slid to 1.1752 dollars from 1.1793.

Markets overseas were mixed.

In Europe, Germany's DAX rose 0.3%, while France's CAC 40 added 0.2%. Britain's FTSE 100 added 0.1%.

In Asia, markets were mostly lower after disappointing Chinese trade data. Japan's Nikkei 225 slipped 0.3%, while Australia's S&P/ASX 200 lost 0.5%. South Korea's Kospi fell 0.2%. Hong Kong's Hang Seng added 0.6%.