Priceline, Disney, Fossil, Yelp among the biggest decliners
U.S. stocks were little changed on Wednesday, though off their lows of the session as the stunning firing of Federal Bureau of Investigation Director James Comey stoked fresh questions about President Donald Trump's ability to build enough consensus in Washington to implement market-friendly polices.
Major indexes had all opened lower, but the S&P 500 and Nasdaq strengthened throughout the session, boosted in part by a rally in crude oil prices, which supported the energy sector. The Dow continued to trade in negative territory, pressured by weak results out of Disney.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 29 points, or 0.1%, to 20,947. The S&P 500 was up 2 points, or less than 0.1%, to 2,399. The Nasdaq Composite Index rose 4 points, or less than 0.1%, to 6,125.
On Tuesday, the Nasdaq ended at a record close while the S&P 500 finished about 0.1% from its own all-time closing high. The Dow is less than 1% below its record close, which was hit March 1. With valuations stretched by some metrics, equities could be vulnerable to prolonged uncertainty coming out of Washington, analysts said.
Trump said he dismissed the director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/trump-fires-fbi-director-comey-democrats-call-for-special-prosecutor-in-russia-probe-2017-05-09) over his handling of the investigation into Hillary Clinton's emails. The reaction on Capitol Hill to Comey's firing has ranged from approval to outrage.
Read:Complete text of White House statement on firing of FBI's Comey (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/complete-text-of-white-house-statement-on-firing-of-fbi-director-james-comey-2017-05-09)
And see:At first, Comey reportedly thought his firing was a prank (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/at-first-comey-reportedly-thought-his-firing-was-a-prank-2017-05-09)
"This certainly isn't a positive, something that makes you want to go out and buy stocks, but it is too early to tell how big of a market-moving event this will prove to be," said Bruce McCain, chief investment strategist at Key Private Bank. "To the extent it reflects a coverup or illegal action, that would be market moving, but we don't know if that's the case. Most of what I've seen thus far suggests the market is taking a wait-and-see attitude."
The political uncertainly offset a strong rally in the energy sector(XLE), which gained 1.2% on the back of a 3.7% surge in oil futures (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/oil-prices-get-respite-from-selling-after-encouraging-us-supply-data-2017-05-10). Crude was higher after an industry group reported a drop in U.S. crude supplies, a positive sign for demand. Among specific names, shares of Chevron Corp.(CVX) rose 1.3% as the biggest advancing stock on the Dow industrials.
Gold futures were 0.3% higher (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/gold-finds-some-footing-as-fbis-comey-firing-pressures-stocks-2017-05-10).
European stocks (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/european-stocks-back-away-from-21-month-high-as-2017-05-10) finished higher, while Asian markets largely gained (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/asian-markets-return-to-gains-after-korean-election-2017-05-09).
In the latest economic data, import prices rose 0.5% in April (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/import-prices-jump-while-export-prices-edge-up-in-april-2017-05-10), while export prices were up 0.2%. Both were higher than expected. Separately, a release on the federal budget is on tap for 2 p.m.
Stock movers:Abercrombie & Fitch Co. shares (ANF) jumped 6.2% in heavy trading following a Reuters report the retailer was fielding buyout interest.
Mylan NV(MYL) shares fell 0.4% after the drugmaker posted first-quarter profit that exceeded expectations (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/mylan-stock-rises-3-after-first-quarter-profit-beat-revenue-miss-2017-05-10), though revenue was weak.
Fashion-accessories maker (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/fossil-group-shares-plummet-after-results-outlook-miss-street-view-2017-05-09)Fossil Group Inc.(FOSL) and online reviews provider (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/yelp-shares-crater-25-in-after-hours-trade-after-revenue-miss-lowered-outlook-2017-05-09)Yelp Inc.(YELP) both plummeted following disappointing quarterly results. Shares of Fossil were down 23% while Yelp shed 19%.
Read the First Take: Yelp plummets as advertisers revolt (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/yelp-plummets-as-advertisers-revolt-2017-05-09)
Online travel broker Priceline Group Inc.(PCLN) lost 5.2% after delivering a weak second-quarter outlook (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/priceline-shares-slide-on-weak-earnings-outlook-2017-05-09) late Tuesday.
Entertainment titan Walt Disney Co.(DIS) was down 2.6% after posting earnings that topped forecasts, but revenue that missed views (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/disney-shares-down-2-as-quarterly-revenue-narrowly-misses-expectations-2017-05-09). The stock was by far the biggest decliner among Dow components.
On the upside, Nvidia Corp. (NVDA) jumped 16% after the maker of graphics chips topped profit forecasts (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/nvidia-jumps-more-than-10-after-handily-beating-on-earnings-2017-05-09-16913212) late Tuesday.
Electronic Arts Inc.(EA) was up 14% following better-than-expected earnings (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/electronic-arts-shares-surge-as-earnings-outlook-tops-street-view-2017-05-09).
Wendy's Co.(WEN) rallied 5% after the fast-food chain beat first-quarter profit and sales expectations (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/wendys-stock-jumps-after-profit-and-sales-beat-expectations-2017-05-10), and provided an upbeat outlook.
Inc. Research Holdings(INCR) reached a deal to combine with private-equity owned inVentiv Health (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/inc-research-to-merge-with-private-equity-owned-inventiv-health-in-all-stock-deal-2017-05-10), creating a large biopharmaceutical outsourcing provider. The agreement values inVentiv at $4.6 billion, including debt. Shares of Inc. gained 21%.
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
May 10, 2017 13:20 ET (17:20 GMT)