MARKET SNAPSHOT: Dow Fights To Retain Grip Higher As Apple's Stock Stumbles

By Mark DeCambre and Barbara Kollmeyer, MarketWatchFeaturesDow Jones Newswires

Nasdaq Composite faces headwinds in Tuesday trade; Retailers get a postholiday boost on upbeat sales reports

U.S. stocks on Tuesday traded mostly lower, with the Dow struggling to hold on to positive territory, as investors returned from the long holiday break, with technology stocks coming under pressure as shares of Apple Inc. declined.

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What are indexes doing?

The Dow Jones Industrial Average traded up 15 points, or less than 0.1%, to 24,767, while the S&P 500 index dipped about 1 point, or less than 0.1%, at 2,681. The Nasdaq Composite Index dropped 27 points, or 0.4%, at 6,933.

Last week (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/us-stocks-on-track-for-weekly-rise-with-data-deluge-on-deck-2017-12-22), the Dow and the S&P 500 posted a fifth straight week of gains ahead of the holiday, gaining 0.4% and 0.3%, respectively. The Nasdaq rose 0.3% as well for the week.

What's driving the market?

In a holiday shortened stretch, with most global markets closed on Monday, volumes may stay low given many traders may stay away until after New Year. European markets are closed Tuesday in observance of Boxing Day.

Retailers were enjoying a bit of a bounce after post-Christmas sales (https://www.wsj.com/articles/retailers-feel-shoppers-christmas-cheer-1514243102). Shares of Macy's Inc. (M) and Kohl's Corp. (KSS) were both up by at least 4%. Sales, excluding automobiles, rose 4.9% from Nov. 1 through Dec. 24 (https://www.wsj.com/articles/retailers-feel-shoppers-christmas-cheer-1514243102), compared with a 3.7% gain in the same period last year, according to the Mastercard Inc. (MA).

Republicans passed the most sweeping overhaul of the U.S. tax code in 30 years as well as a stopgap spending bill to keep the government funded into early 2018.

Meanwhile, S&P Case-Shiller 20-city home-price index was up 6.4% from year ago in October.

What are market participants saying?

Joseph Saluzzi, co-founder and co-head of trading at Themis Trading, said he expects a trend of stock buying going forward, supported by an expectation of fiscal stimulus like tax cuts to continue into next year.

"If the same feel as this year is anticipated," Saluzzi said, referring to an anticipated increase in corporate spending and additional stimulus measures by the government including infrastructure spending. "'Why would you fight [the market], especially on the big cap stocks?'" Right now, there is really nothing else getting in the way of [markets rising]," he said.

See:MarketWatch's economic calendar (http://www.marketwatch.com/economy-politics/calendars/economic)

Which stocks are in focus

Apple (AAPL) shares are down nearly 2.2%. A few of the iPhone maker's suppliers declined in Taiwan over a report of tepid iPhone X demand. Apple's stock decline was cutting more than 30 points from the price-weighted Dow industrials.

Need to know:The Apple 'X' factor that could deliver new year stress for investors (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/the-apple-x-factor-that-could-deliver-new-year-stress-for-investors-2017-12-26)

Global specialty pharmaceuticals group Mallinckrodt PLC(MNK) announced a deal to buy Sucampo Pharmaceuticals Inc. (SCMP) in a deal valued at $1.2 billion, including debt. Shares of Sucampo were up over 5%, and Mallinkrodt shares gained 2.5%.

What are other markets doing?

Oil futures and gold were also in the green, while the dollar index was flat around 93.307.

Bitcoin futures are atop $15,000 as the cryptocurrency is also swinging higher Tuesday (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/bitcoin-on-the-rebound-futures-prices-also-above-15000-2017-12-26).

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

December 26, 2017 10:53 ET (15:53 GMT)