US stocks post gains after weak start to session

U.S. stocks trimmed early session losses Tuesday and posted modest gains as shares of several tech companies and retailers paced the broader market.

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
I:DJI DOW JONES AVERAGES 40211.72 +210.82 +0.53%
SP500 S&P 500 5631.22 +15.87 +0.28%
I:COMP NASDAQ COMPOSITE INDEX 18472.565651 +74.12 +0.40%

At the beginning of the day's session, heightened prospects that President Trump will slap more tariffs on Chinese goods weighed on market sentiment. The president told The Wall Street Journal that it was "highly unlikely" that the U.S. would delay a tariff increase to 25 percent on about $200 billion in Chinese goods to 25 percent.

He also said it is possible a 10 percent tariff could be levied on iPhones and laptops imported from China. Apple shares fell on worries that sales in China will be hurt by the trade war with the U.S.

Meanwhile, investors assessed a downbeat report from the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller National Home Price Index, which indicated that the pace of U.S. home price hikes declined in September.

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
MSFT MICROSOFT CORP. 453.96 +0.41 +0.09%
AMZN AMAZON.COM INC. 192.72 -1.77 -0.91%
NFLX NETFLIX INC. 656.45 +8.85 +1.37%
M MACY'S INC. 16.84 -2.25 -11.80%
JCP n.a. n.a. n.a. n.a.

But in afternoon trading, several big tech companies, including Microsoft, Amazon and Netflix, began rising, and retailers like Macy's and J.C. Penney Co. also posted gains, pushing the Dow Jones Industrial Average and S&P 500 into positive territory.

Sentiment was also boosted Tuesday afternoon when Larry Kudlow, Trump's top economic advisor, told reporters that prospects for a U.S.-China trade were encouraging as reported by FOX Business.

Shares of General Motors, coming under a barrage of criticism -- including Trump -- for its decision to lay off thousands and close five North American plants, was falling. Trump suggested pulling subsidies for electric cars, vehicles that GM has been actively developing and selling.

Crude oil prices, meanwhile, edged lower, with U.S. benchmark West Texas Intermediate down 0.45 percent to $51.40.

On Monday, Dow component United Technologies announced the industrial giant will be split into three companies. Shares jumped in after-hours trading by 2 percent on the news, but were down sharply in Tuesday trading.

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
UTX n.a. n.a. n.a. n.a.
GM GENERAL MOTORS CO. 49.30 +0.29 +0.59%

In Asia on Tuesday,  China’s Shanghai Composite was up 0.4 percent.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index fell 0.09 percent.

Japan’s Nikkei average ended the day 0.64 percent higher.

In Europe, London’s FTSE traded lower by  0.6 percent, Germany’s DAX slipped 0.4 percent and France’s CAC added 0.5 percent.

FOX Business’ Mike Obel contributed to this story.