MARKET SNAPSHOT: U.S. Stocks Retreat From Records As Political Uncertainty Drags

By Victor Reklaitis, MarketWatch , Ryan Vlastelica Features Dow Jones Newswires

Home Depot rallies after results, boosting the Dow

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U.S. stocks dipped on Tuesday, pulling back from record levels as the latest bout of political uncertainty in the U.S. was seen as a headwind that could limit the market's advance.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 9 points to 20,973, down less than 0.1%. The S&P 500 slipped 3 points, or 0.1%, to 2,399. Earlier in the session, the benchmark index eked out an all-time intraday high of 2,405.77. The Nasdaq Composite Index also hit an intraday record in the first minutes of trading, and traded up 2 points to 6,152.

The day's move was broad but slight. While nine of the 11 primary S&P 500 sectors opened higher, only two remained in the green in midday trading.

Stocks have been propelled higher recently by some strong corporate results and hopes that the administration of President Donald Trump will pass tax reform and other legislative initiatives that are seen as market friendly. However, the rally has shown signs of stalling of late, despite marking records. Benchmarks have made slight daily moves, a sign that investors see few reasons to keep pushing shares higher. By some metrics, valuations are at their highest level in more than a decade (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/exuberant-investors-are-behind-extreme-valuations-2017-05-01).

See also:As profit expectations drop, Goldman Sachs says the stock market rally may hit the brakes (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/as-profit-expectations-drop-goldman-sachs-says-stock-rally-may-hit-the-brakes-2017-05-15)

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"Prices aren't at all justified by valuations or economic data. Wall Street can still rise over the coming days or even months, but I think you're taking a lot of risk by staying in the S&P 500," said Adam Strauss, portfolio manager at Appleseed Fund. "In general, U.S. stocks are unattractive, though there are some idiosyncratic value opportunities within the market."

Investors were also assessing reports that Trump had shared sensitive intelligence (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/trump-revealed-sensitive-intel-to-russians-us-officials-say-2017-05-15) obtained from a close U.S. ally with Russia's foreign minister and ambassador. The bombshell comes mere days after Trump fired James Comey, the now-former FBI director.

Other markets: Oil futures were up 0.1%, following slight gains and losses. Expectations that the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries will extend production cuts until early next year continue to boost trading sentiment (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/oil-prices-add-to-gains-with-investors-cheered-by-opec-news-2017-05-16). Energy shares dipped 0.1%, having previously been the strongest industry on the day, rising as much as 0.3%.

European stocks (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/germanys-dax-eases-from-record-high-as-auto-shares-fall-euro-retakes-110-2017-05-16) were flat, while Asian markets largely closed higher (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/mixed-bag-for-asian-stocks-as-nikkei-gets-back-on-track-2017-05-15).

Read:Why stock-market investors are falling back in love with Europe (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/why-stock-markets-investors-are-finding-lamour-en-europe-2017-05-15)

Gold futures gained 0.6%, as a key dollar index lost 0.6%. Some analysts are blaming the buck's drop to a six-month low (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/dollar-slides-to-6-month-low-as-worries-about-trump-return-2017-05-16) on worries about Trump sharing classified information with Russia (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/trump-revealed-sensitive-intel-to-russians-us-officials-say-2017-05-15).

"There's been a lot of political volatility, but it hasn't hurt the stock market," Strauss said. "Having said that, political issues could lead to a lower value for the dollar, which we expect will happen."

Economic news: Housing starts fell 2.6% in April, coming in below expectations (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/housing-starts-ease-to-117-million-rate-in-april-after-strong-first-quarter-2017-05-16). Separately, industrial production grew at the fastest monthly rate (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/us-industrial-output-jumps-in-april-at-fastest-rate-in-more-than-three-years-2017-05-16) in more than three years, topping analysts' forecasts.

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No Federal Reserve officials are expected to deliver speeches on Tuesday.

Individual movers:Home Depot Inc.(HD) gained 1.1% after the home-improvement retailer's quarterly earnings topped Wall Street's estimates (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/home-depot-shares-jump-2-premarket-after-company-beats-earnings-estimates-raises-outlook-2017-05-16). The stock was by far the biggest boost to the Dow industrials.

Shares in Ford Motor Co.(F) fell 0.1% following news the auto maker is planning substantial cuts to its global workforce (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/ford-plans-to-slash-about-10-of-its-global-workforce-2017-05-15) amid a drive to boost profit and address Ford's sliding stock price.

Snap Inc.(SNAP) sank 1.4%, reversing a premarket rally of more than 8% that came after billionaire investor George Soros's hedge fund disclosed a stake (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/soros-places-big-bet-on-snap-dumps-amazon-stake-2017-05-15) in the Snapchat parent.

Etsy Inc.(ETSY) advanced 21% after two private-equity firms revealed they've bet (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/etsy-shares-jump-after-private-equity-firms-disclose-stake-2017-05-15) on the online marketplace for handmade products.

Tesla Inc.(TSLA) rose 0.6% following news that Lyndon Rive, head of the SolarCity business, will leave Tesla next month (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/solarcity-ceo-lyndon-rive-to-leave-tesla-report-2017-05-15), less than a year after the solar-power outfit was acquired by the maker of electric cars.

Staples Inc.(SPLS) sank 4.5% after the seller of office supplies posted same-store sales that beat expectations (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/stapless-stock-jumps-after-same-stores-sales-beat-while-profit-matched-expectations-2017-05-16), while matching forecasts on quarterly profit.

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

May 16, 2017 11:49 ET (15:49 GMT)