U.S. stocks closed mostly higher Tuesday, led by the health care and utilities sectors, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average retreated as shares of Boeing Co. came under heavy pressure following a fatal crash over the weekend of a 737 Max aircraft.
How did major indexes fare?
The Dow DJIA, -0.38% lost 96.22 points, or 0.4%, to end at 25,554.66. The S&P 500 SPX, +0.30% rose 8.22 points, or 0.3%, to finish at 2,791.52 as health care and utilities stocks led gains, while the Nasdaq Composite Index COMP, +0.44% rose 32.97 points, or 0.4%, to finish at 7,591.03.
What drove the market?
The price-weighted Dow fell as its largest component, Boeing BA, -1.31% sank another 6.2% after losing 5.3% Monday.
Although, the Federal Aviation Administration declared the 737 Max 8 airworthy, more regulators have decided to ground the planes, including those in Australia, Singapore and the Middle East. The decisions come amid worries about flight systems in Boeing’s 737 Max models following the weekend crash, which resulted in the death of 157 people near Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa.
The stock market shrugged off the U.K. Parliament’s rejection of Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit deal, in part, as the outcome had been anticipated. Lawmakers will now have to decide whether they want a Brexit without a deal or possibly extend the March 29 deadline for leaving the European Union.
Separately, reports indicated progress on a Sino-American trade deal, with China and the U.S. reportedly close to a deal on currencies—an element in their broader trade dispute.
The consumer-price index rose 0.2% in February following three months of no change, the Labor Department said. Core prices, which strip out volatile changes in the cost of food an energy rose 0.1%. Year-over-year, overall inflation fell from growth of 1.6% in January to 1.5%, while annual core inflation fell from 2.2% to 2.1%.
The National Federation of Independent Business said its small-business optimism index rose 0.5 point to 101.7, with 5 out of the 10 components increasing, led by a 5-point gain in those who expect the economy to improve. It nonetheless was the second-worst reading since December 2016.
What were strategists saying?
“Economic data has been weird lately,” Norm Conley, chief investment officer at JAG Capital Management, told MarketWatch, arguing that large swings in retail sales data and conflicting reports on the health of the labor market has “created more uncertainty at the margin.”
The heightened uncertainty surrounding the health of the global economy is leading to investor caution, he added.
What stocks were in focus?
Dick’s Sporting Goods Inc. DKS, -11.01% shares skidded 11% after the retailer reported a 6.3% decline in fourth-quarter sales.
Shares of Tesla Inc. TSLA, -0.54% fell 2.6% after lawyers for the electric car maker’s CEO Elon Musk defended a recent tweet from the outspoken executive, accusing the Securities and Exchange Commission of overreaching and infringing on Musk’s right of free speech.
Hewlett Packard Enterprise Co. HPE, -2.96% shares slid 3% after an analyst at UBS Group AG downgraded the stock to sell from neutral, citing headwinds to growth of its cloud business.
Shares of F5 Networks Inc. FFIV, -7.67% tumbled 7.7% after an analyst at J.P. Morgan cut the stock’s rating to neutral from overweight.
How were other markets trading?
Stock markets in Asia rallied, with Japan’s Nikkei 225 NIK, -0.99% Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index HSI, -0.39% and China’s Shanghai Composite Index SHCOMP, -1.09% all adding more than 1%.
European stocks, meanwhile, were pressured with the Stoxx Europe 600 SXXP, +0.11% fractionally lower.
In commodity markets, the price of crude oil CLJ9, +0.49% rose solidly and gold CLJ9, +0.49% traded higher while the U.S. dollar DXY, -0.10% lost ground against its peers.