Tech and health care lead U.S. stocks lower

May 16, 2018, 13:43
Tech and health care lead U.S. stocks lower

Investors also awaited high-level talks between China and the U.S. set to commence this week in Washington.

"A little bit of today's jitters are related to a hangover to yesterday's wrongly placed exuberance that a trade deal was imminent, and the reality is we are in for a long slugfest between the USA and China", said Jon Mackay, investment strategist at Schroders North America in NY.

"A combination of firm growth and higher interest rates is unnerving", said Anthony Chan, chief economist for Chase in NY. "Longer term, we believe these trade issues will be resolved but on a day-to-day basis they lead to some consternation from investors".

The surge came after the Commerce Department said retail sales climbed 0.3 percent in April and revised March sales growth upward, to 0.8 percent from 0.6 percent.

Home Depot dropped 1.4 percent to $187.98 after the home-improvement retailer reported weaker-than-expected sales, partly because of inclement weather, and said the second quarter got off to a slow start.

The yield on 10-year US Treasury notes jumped to its highest level since July 2011, suggesting an uptick in inflation and sending the dollar index to its highest close in 2018. The Dow Jones Small-Cap Value TSM Index closed at 10,162.47 for a gain of 1.12 points or 0.01%.

The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks gave up 6.45 points, or 0.4 percent, to 1,600.34. On Monday it rose 35 cents to settle at $71.31 a barrel. Gold fell $27.90, or 2.1 percent, to $1,290.30 an ounce.

Among the S&P industry groups, the rate-sensitive real estate space ended at the bottom of the standings with a 1.7% loss, including a 3.8% rout in the iShares U.S. Home Construction ETF.

Mexico's economy minister said he saw diminishing chances for a new NAFTA ahead of a May 17 deadline to present a deal that could be signed by the current U.S. Congress. In Japan, the Topix index was off 0.2%.

MSCI's gauge of stocks across the globe shed 0.86 per cent amid weak economic data from Germany and China. Brent crude, used to price global oil, added shed 8 cents to $78.35 a barrel in London.

The difference between the two benchmarks briefly widened to more than $8 a barrel, the widest gap since April 2015, reflecting surging USA crude supplies and a greater geopolitical risk to Brent-based crudes. "A stronger dollar means downward pressure".

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