Stocks pullback after S&P's best day since June

Gary Gensler, Biden's pick to head SEC, faced confirmation hearing

U.S. equity markets fell Tuesday, a day after posting their strongest gains in months.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average traded down 145 points, or 0.46%, while the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq Composite slid 0.81% and 1.69%, respectively.

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
I:DJI DOW JONES AVERAGES 34200.67 +164.68 +0.48%
SP500 S&P 500 4185.47 +15.05 +0.36%
I:COMP n.a. n.a. n.a. n.a.

The losses come a day after the S&P 500 booked its best day since June, fueled by optimism over the pace and strength of the U.S. economic recovery as Johnson & Johnson's COVID-19 vaccine became the third inoculation to receive regulatory approval. Later today President Biden is expected to announce a vaccine collaboration between J&J and Merck.

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
JNJ JOHNSON & JOHNSON 162.34 +1.65 +1.03%
MRK MERCK & CO., INC. 77.46 +0.79 +1.03%

Looking at stocks, GameStop Corp. and other highly shorted stocks remained in focus as Gary Gensler, Biden’s pick to head the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, appeared before the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs for his confirmation hearing.

Rocket, the real estate and mortgage company, emerged as the newest so-called "meme" stock soaring over 71% without any clear news. Inquiries by FOX Business to the company were not immediately returned.

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
GME GAMESTOP 154.69 -1.75 -1.12%
RKT ROCKET COMPANIES INC. 22.12 -0.64 -2.81%

Gun stocks traded down as Senator Chris Murphy, a Democrat from Connecticut proposed expanded background checks for firearm purchases.

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
RGR STURM, RUGER & CO. 70.63 +0.33 +0.47%
SWBI SMITH & WESSON BRANDS 18.27 +0.06 +0.33%
VSTO VISTA OUTDOOR 31.71 -0.68 -2.10%

Meanwhile, Target Corp. reported revenue rose 21% from a year ago as the pandemic continued to fuel a surge in demand for same-day services. The big-box retailer said its sales grew by more than $15 billion last year, more than the 11 previous years combined. Still, shares paced the overall drop in consumer discretionary names.

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
TGT TARGET CORP. 208.55 +2.79 +1.36%

In other earnings news, Zoom shares gave up gains after the video-conferencing provider said sales soared 369% year over year as the pandemic caused more people to work from home.

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
ZM ZOOM VIDEO COMMUNICATIONS, INC. 329.95 -2.43 -0.73%
SQ SQUARE INC COM 256.10 -6.98 -2.65%

Elsewhere, Square Inc. announced its commercial bank, Square Financial Services, has begun operations. The unit will offer business loans to Square’s retailers.

In commodities, West Texas Intermediate crude oil slipped 89 cents to $59.75 per barrel and gold rallied $10.60 to $1,733.10 an ounce.

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Overseas, markets rallied across Europe with Britain’s FTSE 100 trading up 0.58% to pace the advance. Elsewhere, France’s CAC 40 gained 0.35% and Germany’s DAX 30 rose 0.25%.

In Asia, Japan’s Nikkei 225 fell 0.86% while China’s Shanghai Composite index and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index both lost 1.21%.