MARKET SNAPSHOT: Stocks Struggle For Second Day On Geopolitical Uncertainties

By Sue Chang and Anora Mahmudova, MarketWatch Features Dow Jones Newswires

Worries about Comey, U.K. election, Qatar curb 'risk appetite'

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U.S. stocks edged lower on Tuesday as investors turned cautious ahead of a key foreign election and uncertainties associated with former Federal Bureau of Investigation boss James Comey's testimony to the Senate later this week.

The S&P 500 was off by 4 points, or 0.2%, to 2,431, with seven of the 11 main sectors trading lower. Consumer discretionary and financials were leading the losses.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average declined 38 points, or 0.2%, to 21,146, with more than half of the 30 components in negative territory. Wal-Mart Stores Inc.(WMT) and Walt Disney Company(DIS) were the top decliners.

The Nasdaq Composite Index slid 5 points to 6,289.

"We expect sideways markets over the short-term due to seasonality -- summer months tend to be quieter -- and investors continue to react to headline news," said Lisa Kopp, head of Traditional Investment Group at U.S. Bank Wealth Management.

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Kopp still expects the S&P 500 to finish the year higher, supported by fundamentals.

Read:Robust stock market breadth could pave the way to fresh records (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/robust-stock-market-breadth-could-pave-the-way-to-fresh-records-2017-06-05)

Analysts said investors were in a cautious mood they wait for former FBI director Comey's Senate appearance, the outcome of the U.K. general election, and a policy meeting of the European Central Bank. The aversion to risky plays have in turn bolstered demand for assets perceived as safe havens such as U.S. Treasurys , gold , and the Japanese yen (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/dollar-falls-against-yen-as-analysts-see-flight-to-safety-due-to-geopolitical-fears-2017-06-06). Risk appetite is also being fueled in part on concerns about a diplomatic row between Qatar (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/saudi-arabia-bahrain-uae-sever-diplomatic-relations-with-qatar-2017-06-04) and other Middle Eastern nations.

Read: What you need to know about Saudi Arabia's break with Qatar (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/heres-what-you-need-to-know-about-saudi-arabias-spat-with-qatar-2017-06-05)

On the whole, financial market volatility is expected to pick up ahead of Thursday's testimony from Comey, which is likely to deal with the Trump administration's ties with Russia, according to Sireen Harajli, a foreign exchange at Mizuho Americas.

"This will bring back doubts regarding the administration's ability to implement its economic agenda," she said in a note.

Read:What to watch when James Comey testifies to the Senate on Thursday (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/what-to-watch-when-james-comey-testifies-to-the-senate-on-thursday-2017-06-05)

Other markets:European markets (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/european-stocks-set-for-1-week-low-as-caution-sets-in-2017-06-06) lost ground across the board while Asian equities finished mixed (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/asian-markets-slip-as-investors-turn-cautious-2017-06-05).

Oil futures rose 1% and a key dollar index was slightly lower after earlier showing a bigger loss and touching levels last seen in November (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/dollar-falls-against-yen-as-analysts-see-flight-to-safety-due-to-geopolitical-fears-2017-06-06).

Economic news:The number of job openings (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/us-job-openings-hit-record-high-6-million-2017-06-06) in the United States rose in April to a record high, but the pace of hiring slipped to a one-year low in another sign the economy is running out of people with enough skills to fill empty positions.

Individual movers: Shares in Apple Inc.(AAPL) rose 0.5%, putting the gadgets giant on track to recover somewhat from Monday's 1% drop.

That fall came after Apple unveiled its HomePod smart speaker and other new offerings (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/apple-bets-that-youll-adopt-these-3-tech-habits-2017-06-05), and as Pacific Crest analysts downgraded the stock (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/apple-downgraded-as-analysts-say-investors-dazzled-by-iphone-8-arent-pricing-in-enough-risk-2017-06-05), saying all of the upside from the next iPhone is already priced in.

Amazon.com Inc.(AMZN) is dropping the price for its Prime membership for low-income shoppers (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/amazon-cuts-prime-fee-for-low-income-shoppers-as-it-takes-on-wal-mart-2017-06-06). The move is seen as taking aim at Wal-Mart, which counts on shoppers who receive government assistance for a large percentage of its sales. Wal-Mart shares were down 2%, while Amazon shares were flat.

21st Century Fox Inc.(FOX) (FOX) shares fell 0.2% after the media giant said it is getting into the mobile videogame business, paying tens of millions of dollars for game studio Aftershock, a Wall Street Journal report said (https://www.wsj.com/articles/fox-buys-mobile-game-maker-aftershock-1496742304).

Struggling Toshiba Corp.(6502.TO) (6502.TO) has granted preferential negotiating rights for its semiconductor unit to U.S. chip maker Broadcom Ltd.(AVGO), said a report from the Asahi Shimbun (http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/AJ201706060045.html), a Japanese newspaper. Broadcom shares rose 0.8%.

Michaels Cos.(MIK) shares skidded 7.3% after the crafts retailer reported earnings below Wall Street's expectations and downgraded its full-year outlook.

Macy's Inc.(M) slumped more than 7% after the department store operator said its gross margins will be weaker than projected (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/macys-tumbles-7-on-margin-warning-dragging-other-retailers-down-with-it-2017-06-06).

--Victor Reklaitis contributed to this report.

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

June 06, 2017 14:11 ET (18:11 GMT)