U.S. Stocks Close Lower As Weak Housing Starts Data Weigh

U.S. Stocks Close Lower As Weak Housing Starts Data Weigh

May 25, 2021

U.S. stocks failed to hold early gains and ended weak on Tuesday as disappointing data on housing starts, and a sell-off in the technology section weighed on the market.

Strong earnings announcements from Walmart (WMT) and Home Depot (HD) helped keep the undertone positive early on in the session, but the mood turned cautious as the day progressed and stocks started paring gains on selling pressure.

Investors looked ahead to the release of the minutes of the Federal Reserve’s April monetary policy meeting for clues about monetary tightening.

The Dow ended down by 267.13 points or 0.78 percent at 34,060.66, after having advanced to 34,408.99 in early trades. The Nasdaq, which rose to 14,485.34, settled at 13,303.64, recording a loss of 75.41 points or 0.56 percent, while the S&P 500 slid 35.46 points or 0.85 percent to settle at 4,127.83.

Shares of Walmart Inc. (WMT) gained more than 2 percent after the retail giant’s adjusted earnings per share and quarterly revenues topped analysts’ expectations and the company raised its guidance for the second quarter and for the full-year 2022. The company reported a 31.6 percent drop in profit for the first quarter.

Macy’s Inc. (M) shares edged down marginally. The company reported that its net income for the first-quarter was $103 million or $0.32 per share compared to a net loss of $3.58 billion or $11.53 per share in the prior year. Macy’s has raised its fiscal-year 2021 guidance, due to improved macroeconomic trends and strength of Polaris strategy execution.

Home Depot (HD) shares failed to hold early gains and ended lower by about 1 percent, despite the company reporting higher earnings in the latest quarter. The company said it posted a profit of $3.86 per share in the first quarter, as against forecasts for earnings of $3.08 a share.

Chevron, Travelers Companies, Caterpillar, Honeywell International, JP Morgan Chase, Goldman Sachs and General Electric drifted lower

On the economic front, data from the Commerce Department showed housing starts in the U.S. tumbled 9.5 percent to an annualized rate of 1.569 million in April, sliding from a 15-year high of 1.733 million recorded a month earlier. Economists had expected housing starts to come in at 1.71 million in April.

Another data from the Commerce Department showed building permits in the U.S. rose by 0.3 percent to 1.76 million in April, from the previous month’s 1.755 million. Economists had expected building permits to rise to 1.77 million in April.

In overseas trading, Asian markets closed mostly higher on Tuesday, due largely to bargain hunting and short-covering after recent sell-off on worries about inflation and a surge in coronavirus cases in a number of Asian countries.

The major European markets failed to hold early gains and closed mixed, as investors made cautious moves, reacting to the latest batch of earnings news and looking ahead to the release of the Federal Reserve’s latest monetary policy meeting, due on Wednesday.

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