The stock market endured a shaky session on Tuesday with the Dow Jones Industrial Average (+0.1%) eking out a slim gain while the S&P 500 (-0.4%) and Nasdaq Composite (-0.7%) underperformed throughout the day.
For the second day in a row, the U.S. trading day began after the release of some disappointing economic data overseas. Today, it was Germany's Factory Orders report for August, which showed a 1.8% decline while the market had expected an increase of 0.5%. That being said, European equities were able to register gains after erasing their early losses, but the strength did not carry over the U.S. session as continued weakness in the biotech space kept the broader market under pressure.
Specifically, the iShares Nasdaq Biotechnology ETF (IBB 301.91, -11.29) lost 3.6% after surrendering 0.7% on Monday. On a related note, the health care sector tumbled 2.3% while most other influential sectors also struggled.
Similar to health care, heavily-weighted financials (-0.5%) and consumer discretionary (-0.7%) underperformed throughout the day while another influential group—technology (+0.2%)—climbed ahead of the broader market during afternoon action.
The largest sector by weight received support from the likes of Apple (AAPL 111.31, +0.53), Microsoft (MSFT 46.75, +0.12), and Intel (INTC 31.74, +0.53), but several other large components finished the day in negative territory. High-beta chipmakers struggled in the early going, but the PHLX Semiconductor Index added 0.3% after erasing a 1.5% decline.
Elsewhere among cyclical sectors, energy (+2.2%) and materials (+1.3%) continued their recent show of relative strength, extending their respective week-to-date gains to 5.1% and 4.0%. Commodity prices were behind today's charge as crude oil surged 4.9% to $48.53/bbl with reports suggesting oil traders have taken note of rising tensions in Syria.
Unlike stocks, Treasuries ended the day near their highs after a brief morning appearance in the red. The 10-yr note added a quarter of a point, pressuring its yield two basis points to 2.04%.
Today's participation was ahead of average as more than 950 million shares changed hands at the NYSE floor.
Economic data was limited to the August trade balance, which showed a deficit of $48.30 billion while the Briefing.com consensus expected the deficit to come in at $44.50 billion. The prior month's deficit was revised to $41.80 billion from $41.90 billion.
Tomorrow, the weekly MBA Mortgage Index will be reported at 7:00 ET while the Consumer Credit report for August will cross the wires at 15:00 ET (Briefing.com consensus $19.50 billion).
Nasdaq Composite +0.3% YTD
S&P 500 -3.8% YTD
Dow Jones Industrial Average -5.8% YTD
Russell 2000 -5.8% YTD
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