Apple leads tech higher as stocks recover from an early loss
NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. stocks clawed back early losses Tuesday as Apple led a rally in technology companies. Smaller, more domestically-focused companies also climbed. The late push offset a slump in household goods makers and industrial companies.
Stocks fell in the early going as investors focused on trade tensions, a drop in construction, and weaker growth in manufacturing. Steel makers lost ground after the White House said it will delay its decision to impose tariffs on imports of steel and aluminum from the European Union, Canada and Mexico for 30 days. The Dow Jones industrial average fell as much as 354 points, then recovered much of that loss and closed down 64.
Amazon and other retailers rose, while banks and health care companies wiped out early losses to finish slightly higher.
Randy Frederick, vice president of trading and derivatives at Charles Schwab, said the that even though companies are reporting great first-quarter results, the market isn't reacting very much. He thinks some people don't want to invest because the market has gone through such huge swings over the last three months.
"It's been the best earnings season we've had in 10 years," he said. "People are starting to sit out. And part of the reason they're sitting out is we're having such high volatility."
The S&P 500 index rose 6.75 points, or 0.3 percent, to 2,654.80. The Dow slipped 64.10 points, or 0.3 percent, to 24,099.05 as Boeing fell along with other industrial companies and McDonald's gave back some of the previous day's gain.
Technology companies surged, sending the Nasdaq composite up 64.44 points, or 0.9 percent, to 7,130.55. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks added 8.44 points, or 0.5 percent, to 1,550.33.
Apple climbed 2.3 percent to $169.10 in regular trading. Its stock rose 4 percent in aftermarket trading after the company's fiscal second quarter profit surpassed Wall Street's expectations, as did its sales forecast for the current quarter. The company also raised its dividend and said it will buy back $100 billion in stock.
Apple, the most valuable publicly traded U.S. company, has lagged behind peers like Microsoft and Intel as investors worried about the possibility of slowing iPhone sales.
Intel added 3.3 percent to $53.33 and video game maker Electronic Arts rose 1.6 percent to $119.83.
Electronic storage company Seagate Technology plunged 6.4 percent to $54.21 after its fiscal third-quarter report. The stock is still up almost 30 percent this year.
The administration's delay in imposing tariffs sidesteps a potential trade battle with Europe for now, but European Union leaders want a permanent exemption and say the uncertainty caused by delays is bad for business. The announcement comes ahead of the trade talks between U.S. and China later this week.
Industrial companies struggled. Boeing fell 1.2 percent to $329.54 and engine maker Cummins tumbled 4.1 percent to $153.28 after its first-quarter report. Lockheed Martin sagged 3.9 percent to $308.46 as defense contractors continued to struggle.
U.S. manufacturing kept growing in April, but it did so at a slower pace, according to the Institute for Supply Management, a trade group of purchasing managers. Many factories said shortages of workers and skills affected their productivity. Meanwhile the Commerce Department said construction spending fell in March as home building dropped sharply.
Frederick, of Charles Schwab, said investors haven't had to deal with a lot of weak economic data in the last year.
"That's something the market is kind of not used to," he said.
After Mark Zuckerberg said Facebook is developing its own dating feature, shares of Match Group tumbled. The operator of dating apps including Match, OKCupid and Tinder plunged 22.1 percent to $36.71 and its biggest investor and former parent company, IAC/InteractiveCorp, lost 17.8 percent to $133.33.
Pfizer slumped as its first-quarter sales fell short of estimates. The maker of pain medicine Lyrica and the blockbuster Prevnar 13 vaccine against pneumococcal infections said sales of older medicines slipped and its stock lost 3.3 percent to $35.40.
Tapestry, Coach's parent company, lost 11.7 percent to $47.46 as its Kate Spade and Stuart Weitzman brands had a weak first quarter.
Commodities prices fell as the dollar grew stronger. Oil prices gave up some of their recent gains. Benchmark U.S. crude fell 1.9 percent to $67.25 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, the international standard, declined 2.1 percent to $73.13 a barrel in London.
Wholesale gasoline lost 2 percent to $2.09 a gallon and heating oil fell 2.3 percent to $2.10 a gallon. Natural gas rose 1.4 percent to $2.80 per 1,000 cubic feet.
Gold fell 0.9 percent to $1,306.80 an ounce and silver lost 1.7 percent to $16.13 an ounce. Copper dipped 1.2 percent to $3.04 a pound.
Bond prices edged lower. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose to 2.97 percent from 2.96 percent. The 10-year yield hit a four-year high last week.
The dollar rose to 109.81 yen from 109.29 yen. The euro fell to $1.1993 from 1.2082.
Britain's FTSE 100 rose 0.1 percent and the Japanese Nikkei 225 rose 0.2 percent. Markets in France and Germany, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Seoul and most cities in Southeast Asia were closed for public holidays.