[BRIEFING.COM] Stocks have moved away from record highs today, but losses have been fairly modest for the most part. The major U.S. indices are down between 0.3% and 0.6%, which is slightly below where they opened today's session. The tech-heavy Nasdaq (-0.6%) underperforms as biotechnology shares show relative weakness.
The energy (-1.1%), materials (-1.0%), and telecom services (-1.0%) sectors have paced today's retreat. Within the materials space, mining giant Freeport-McMoRan (FCX 13.66, -0.77) has lost 5.4%, thanks in large part to a 1.8% decline in the price of copper, which currently trades at $3.06/lb. FCX is one of the world's largest copper producers.
Meanwhile, energy shares have moved in tandem with the price of crude oil, which has continued retreating from the two-year high it touched last week; WTI crude futures are down 2.1% at $55.58/bbl. The American Petroleum Institute will release its weekly crude inventory report this evening at 16:30 ET.
Industrials are also struggling as General Electric (GE 17.65, -1.37) slides another 7.2% following yesterday's decision to cut its dividend by 50%.
On a positive note, the rate-sensitive utilities space has climbed 0.9%, moving into third place in this year's sector standings (+16.3% YTD). The group has benefited from increased buying interest in U.S. sovereign debt, which has sent Treasury yields lower across the curve; the yield on the benchmark 10-yr Treasury note is down two basis points at 2.38%.
The consumer staples (+0.3%) and consumer discretionary (unch) sectors also trade ahead of the broader market.
In earnings news, Home Depot (HD 167.29, +1.94) is up 1.2% after reporting better-than-expected earnings and revenues and issuing above-consensus guidance for fiscal year 2018. Advance Auto (AAP 97.02, +14.73) is also higher, jumping 18.8%, after beating earnings estimates, while TJX (TJX 67.00, -3.76) has dropped 5.3% after missing revenue estimates.
Buffalo Wild Wings (BWLD 145.77, +28.52) has surged 24.3% following reports that Roark Capital has made a bid to buy the company for more than $150/share.
In Washington, Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) announced that he intends to offer an amendment to the GOP's tax reform bill that would repeal the Affordable Care Act's individual mandate. His decision may prove to be an obstacle in tax overhaul negotiations, which Republicans are trying to wrap up soon in order to put a tax reform bill on the president's desk by the end of the year.
Elsewhere, the Euro Stoxx 50 (-0.5%) declined for the seventh session in a row, while stock indices in the Asia-Pacific region also settled modestly lower.
Reviewing Tuesday's economic data, which was limited to the October Producer Price Index and the October NFIB Small Business Optimism Index:
- Producer prices rose 0.4% in October (Briefing.com consensus +0.1%), while core producer prices also rose 0.4% (Briefing.com consensus +0.2%). Year-over-year, producer prices are up 2.8% and core producer prices have risen 2.4%.
- The key takeaway from the report is that it will create some angst about possible pass-through effects on consumer prices and will help solidify expectations for a December rate hike from the Federal Reserve.
- The NFIB Small Business Optimism Index increased to 103.8 in October from 103.0 in the prior reading.