Wall St Loses Ground as Earnings, Data Disappoint


U.S. stocks were lower on Tuesday, dragged down by technology and industrial shares, amid disappointing earnings and weak consumer confidence data.

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The selling comes a day after Wall Street recorded its worst day of 2017, as investors turned wary about the consequences of President Donald Trump's isolationist policies such as curbing travel to the United States.

The S&P 500 technology sector led Tuesday's losers with a 1.06 percent drop. Microsoft and Apple were the biggest drags. Apple is scheduled to report after markets close on Tuesday.

"Many technology CEOs have come out publicly against Trump's immigration policies and it certainly hurts the sector's access to highly qualified labor," said Brant Houston, portfolio manager at Atlantic Trust in Denver, Colorado.

A clutch of disappointing quarterly earnings across sectors added to the dour mood.

Package delivery company UPS dropped 6.2 percent to $109.71 after posting a quarterly loss and issuing a full-year profit forecast that missed expectations. The stock weighed the most on the S&P industrials sector.

Under Armour was the biggest percentage loser on the index. The sportswear maker's gloomy sales and forecast also dragged down bigger rival and Dow component Nike 1.3 percent.

At 12:23 p.m. ET (1723 GMT), the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 137.45 points, or 0.69 percent, at 19,833.68.

The S&P 500 was down 9.31 points, or 0.41 percent, at 2,271.59 and the Nasdaq Composite was down 29.09 points, or 0.52 percent, at 5,584.62.

The Dow, which had risen more than 5 percent in November and 3 percent in December, was on track for a paltry 0.3 percent gain this month. Goldman Sachs was the biggest drag on the index on Tuesday.

A report from the Conference Board showed the consumer confidence index fell by a bigger-than-expected margin in January after hitting a 15-year high the previous month.

The healthcare sector rose 0.57 percent after Trump called for easing regulations for drugmakers, lowering taxes and prices of medicines.

Six of the 11 major S&P sectors were lower, while defensive plays - utilities and real estate - were the top gainers.

The dollar slumped 0.8 percent against a basket of six major currencies on Tuesday and was on track its worst month since March 2016. Trump's top trade adviser Peter Navarro accused Germany of using a "grossly undervalued" euro to gain a competitive advantage.

Safe-haven gold rose 1.46 percent, the precious metal's biggest one-day percentage gain in more than three weeks.

A two-day meeting of the Federal Reserve's policy-setting is also on investors' radar. The central bank is not expected to raise rates, after a move in December, but investors will focus on how policymakers view the economy under a Trump presidency.

Declining issues outnumbered advancers on the NYSE by 1,426 to 1,422. On the Nasdaq, 1,507 issues fell and 1,239 advanced.

The S&P 500 index showed eight new 52-week highs and four new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 46 new highs and 38 new lows.

(Reporting by Yashaswini Swamynathan in Bengaluru; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila)

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