Stocks finished lower Tuesday as a spike in geopolitical tensions and less dovish comments from the Federal Reserve members weighed on investor sentiment. Trade relations also remained in focus ahead of this weekend’s G-20 summit, where President Trump and Chinese President Xi plan to resume negotiations. The S&P 500 slipped 1.0%, its third consecutive daily decline. The Dow fell 179 points, while the Nasdaq Composite was down 1.5%.
Perceived safe haven assets caught a bid amid the geopolitical uncertainty between the U.S and Iran. COMEX gold pared earlier gains to finish less than 0.1% higher to $1,414.90/ounce, near its six-year high even as the U.S. dollar strengthened. On the data front, the Conference Board revealed consumer confidence in June declined to the lowest level since September 2017. Separately, a report from S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller showed housing price gains in 20 U.S. cities slowed in April to the weakest pace since 2012. Treasuries strengthened even after St. Louis Fed President James Bullard stated a 50 basis point cut was not warranted at July’s FOMC meeting. The yield on the 10-year note dropped two basis points to 1.99%.
The Technology, Communication Services and Consumer Discretionary sectors paced the decline as the groups fell 1.8%, 1.6%, and 1.1% respectively. The oft-cited “FAANG” stocks also underperformed, slipping 2.1% amid the spike in volatility. In corporate news, AbbVie tumbled 16.4% after announcing plans to buy rival Allergan in a $63 billion cash and stock deal. Elsewhere, Lennar fell 6.2% after the homebuilder lowered its earnings guidance for the upcoming quarter. In commodities, WTI crude lost 0.1% to $57.83/barrel