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Stocks – Recent Highs Now Keeping Wall Street in Check

Investing.com - Once stocks bash their way to new highs, the encore can be frustrating.

So it was Tuesday as investors seemed to take a "show me" attitude before making decisions that could push a pricey market higher.

The major averages moved to new intraday highs soon after the open, but the gains faded as the day wore on. The Dow gave up the last of its gains at the close, finishing off 0.1%. The S&P 500 slipped 0.3%, and the Nasdaq Composite index dropped 0.4%. The Nasdaq 100 Index dropped 0.5%.

At the end of the day, the S&P 500 was still up 19.8% for this year, with the Dow up 17.2% and the Nasdaq enjoying a 23.9% gain.

The stagnation may be in part to traders being noplussed by earnings reports. But it also may be that they're considering taking money off the table after the market's big run since early June. The S&P 500 is up 9.5% since June 3, when Fed Chairman Jerome Powell began signalling a rate cut might be coming.

Stocks jumped to new record highs last week in response to Powell's continued hints about lower rates.

Holding the market back Tuesday was weakness in energy, utility and healthcare shares.

Apache (NYSE:APA), Chesapeake Energy (NYSE:CHK) and Devon Energy (NYSE:DVN) were all lower, along with Consolidated Edison (NYSE:ED), the big New York utility company. Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ) and UnitedHealth Group (NYSE:UNH) were lower.

On the flip side, there was a group of winners from the oil-price drop: airlines like JetBlue (NASDAQ:JBLU), Alaska Air (NYSE:ALK) and United Airlines parent United Continental Holdings (NASDAQ:UAL).


What strength you could find was in industrials, materials and consumer discretionary shares, with gains in such stocks as Boeing (NYSE:BA), Whirlpool (NYSE:WHR), U.S. Steel (NYSE:X) and International Paper (NYSE:IP).

Among consumer stocks, Costco Wholesale (NASDAQ:COST), Chipotle Mexican Grill (NYSE:CMG) and Hershey (NYSE:HSY) moved up. Costco's gain was tiny and came after hitting a new intraday high.

In oil, WTI futures slumped more than 3% to $57.62 a barrel on a comment from President Donald Trump suggesting Middle East tensions were easing. That raised fears that global oil supplies are more than ample. WTI fell to as low as $57.02. Brent crude, the global benchmark, fell 3.2% to $64.35. The price had fallen to as low as $63.82.

As a result, Exxon Mobil (NYSE:XOM) fell 1.5%; Chevron (NYSE:CVX) dropped 0.8%. The Philadelphia Oil Service index dropped 1.5%.

In addition, interest rates moved up, even as Fed Chief Powell repeated his vow to act as appropriate to support the economy. The 10-Year Treasury yield rose 1% to 2.113%.

Financial stocks had decent performances. JPMorgan Chase (NYSE:JPM) rose 1.1%, and Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS) climbed 1.9% after second-quarter results beat analysts' estimates.

Wells Fargo (NYSE:WFC) fell 3%, however, after officials warned expenses will be at the high range of projections and likely to run at the same level in 2020. Wall Street had been looking for costs to come down.

Earnings reports due Wednesday include IBM (NYSE:IBM), Bank of America (NYSE:BAC), Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX) and eBay (NASDAQ:EBAY).

Winners and Losers in the {0|S&P 500}}

Trucking company JB Hunt Transport Services (NASDAQ:JBHT), discount broker Charles Schwab (NYSE:SCHW) and regional airline Alaska Air (NYSE:ALK) were among the top S&P 500 performers.

Oil-and-gas producer Range Resources (NYSE:RRC), memory chip maker Western Digital (NASDAQ:WDC) and utility giant NRG Energy (NYSE:NRG) were among the weakest S&P 500 performers.

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