Analyst: 'Trying to pick a top' like 'picking up pennies in front of a steamroller'
U.S. stocks edged lower, but off its early lows, on Tuesday, with investors potentially taking a step back from buying after the Dow and the S&P 500 ended at records in previous session.
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If the Dow ends in negative territory on Tuesday, it will halt a 10-day streak of gains, as well as nine straight sessions where it ended at a record.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average traded at break-even levels at 22,118, while the S&P 500 index dipped 2 points, or 0.1%, to 2,478. The Nasdaq Composite Index shed 8 points, or 0.1%, to 6,374.
Tuesday's early decline was shallow. Health care (XLV) was the biggest loser, off 0.4%, while financials and energy shares tipped up by 0.2%, posting the best early gains.
While recent market action has had a modest upside bias, the moves have been muted; by one metric, this is the quietest market since 1965 (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/stock-market-hasnt-been-this-quiet-since-lyndon-b-johnson-was-president-2017-07-12). The S&P 500 hasn't had a session where it moved 0.5%, in either direction, since July 19, an abnormally long time. The CBOE Volatility index recently traded near its all-time lows.
The lack of market movement is a sign that while equities lack the kind of positive catalysts that could deliver solid upside from current levels, investors are also reluctant to retreat from the asset class in a time of improving profits and a strong labor market.
"The backdrop is great: earnings are good, the dollar is weak, and both rates and inflation are low. If that continues, there should continue to be a slog higher," said James Meyer, chief investment officer at Tower Bridge Advisors. "But right now the market is just biding time. There's a little profit-taking, a little rotation, and unless something happens in the dollar or rates, we'll probably stay in this kind of market for a while."
Individual movers: Shares in Avis Budget Group Inc.(CAR) fell 10.5% after the car rental company late Monday posted quarterly results that missed Wall Street's expectations (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/avis-shares-down-10-after-company-misses-eps-sales-forecasts-2017-08-07).
Marriott International Inc.(MAR) shed 2.7% after the hotelier posted a quarterly earnings beat, but guided profit for the current quarter (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/marriott-earnings-beat-but-stock-falls-2-2017-08-07) slightly below analysts' forecasts.
CBS Corp.(CBSA) rose 1% after the media giant also reported results late Monday (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/cbs-earnings-boosted-by-twin-peaks-final-four-2017-08-07), with revenue topping expectations.
Ahead of the open, drugstore operator CVS (CVS) posted earnings and revenue that beat estimates (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/cvs-health-shares-rise-after-earnings-and-revenue-beat-estimates-2017-08-08). Shares fell 1.6%.
Michael Kors Holdings Ltd.(KORS) soared 17% as profit at the clothing and accessories company's beat views (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/michael-kors-shares-spike-after-earnings-beat-2017-08-08). Ralph Lauren Corp(RL) jumped 10% on its own results.
"I don't know that these companies have bright futures, but the results weren't as dismal as many people thought," Meyer said. "If expectations get low enough, you can beat them."
Drugmaker Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc.(VRX.T) gained 6.8% as its quarterly revenue topped forecasts (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/valeant-reports-q2-loss-cuts-2017-revenue-guidance-2017-08-08).
Dairy giant Dean Foods Co. (DF) plummeted 19% lower after its earnings disappointed (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/dean-foods-ceo-not-satisfied-with-q2-earnings-that-were-well-below-expectations-2017-08-08), while theme park operator SeaWorld Entertainment Inc.'s (SEAS)revenue missed views (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/seaworld-swings-to-loss-and-revenue-misses-expectations-2017-08-08). Shares of SeaWorld lost 9.4%.
Economic news: Sentiment among small-business owners jumped in July (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/small-business-sentiment-rises-in-july-after-five-month-rut-nfib-2017-08-08), the National Federation of Independent Business said early Tuesday.
Meanwhile, the Labor Department reported on Tuesday that the number of job openings in June vaulted to 6.16 million (https://www.bls.gov/news.release/jolts.nr0.htm)from 5.7 million in May.
Check out:MarketWatch's Economic Calendar (http://www.marketwatch.com/economy-politics/calendars/economic)
Other markets:Oil futures (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/oil-prices-tug-lower-on-doubts-opec-meeting-will-deliver-2017-08-08) traded higher as investors waited for word on whether the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries will back any strong measures to enforce production caps at the cartel's ongoing meeting. Saudi Arabia has made good on its pledge to help rein in a global supply glut, a Reuters report said (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/saudi-arabia-to-cut-crude-oil-allocation-in-september-by-more-than-its-opec-pledge-report-2017-08-08).
European equities (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/european-stocks-edge-lower-on-downbeat-german-chinese-export-data-2017-08-08) tilted down Tuesday, as disappointing trade data from Germany and China pulled down on key sectors. Asian markets closed mostly lower (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/asian-markets-slip-amid-weakening-dollar-2017-08-07).
South Africa's rand was rallying ahead of a no-confidence vote (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/south-africas-rand-is-rallying-ahead-of-a-no-confidence-vote-on-president-jacob-zuma-2017-08-08) on President Jacob Zuma. A key dollar index was modestly lower, while gold futures edged higher.
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
August 08, 2017 10:27 ET (14:27 GMT)