Stocks finished lower on Tuesday as investors monitored mixed trade headlines. A report indicated that a preliminary U.S.-China trade accord was unlikely to be solidified this week, but that Washington was expected to delay additional tariffs set to take effect on Sunday. However, White House officials pushed back, noting that the outcome remained uncertain and depended on how negotiations progress. Meanwhile, U.S. lawmakers came to a consensus for a trade pact with their North American partners, as widely anticipated. The Dow lost 27 points, while the S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite each dipped 0.1%.
Treasuries were little changed, with the yield on the benchmark 10-year note up one basis point to 1.84%. On the data front, an update from the NFIB revealed small business optimism increased by more than expected in November, with the index notching its best month-over-month gain since 2018. In commodities, WTI crude gained 0.4% to $59.24/barrel, while COMEX gold added 0.3% to $1,463.50/ounce.
Seven of 11 S&P 500 sectors closed in negative territory, with Real Estate and Materials leading decliners. Energy and Health Care shares bucked the downtrend, while Tech and Financials ended unchanged. In earnings, Toll Brothers declined 4.9% after the luxury home builder offered first-quarter margin forecasts that fell short of Wall Street expectations. AutoZone climbed 6.9% after topping consensus profit, revenue, and same-store sales forecasts. Stitch Fix jumped 4.8% after the online clothing styling service exceeded Wall Street sales expectations. In other corporate news, Netflix shed 3.1% on the heels of an analyst downgrade.