Stocks closed lower on Tuesday, with the blue-chip Dow recording its first decline in four days. Homebuilder stocks jumped after upbeat housing starts data, and mining stocks declined with copper.
First, the scoreboard:
- Dow: 17,496.44, -48.74, (-0.28%)
- S&P 500: 2,095.66, -6.78, (-0.32%)
- Nasdaq: 5,060.24, -31.46, (-0.62%)
And now, the top stories on Tuesday:
- Copper collapsed to a new six-year low. The industrial metal broke $US5,000 a ton for the first time since July 2009. Futures fell more than 2% to as low as $US2.2845 a pound. Shares of copper miners Freeport-McMoran and Southern Copper fell more than 3%. According to Barclays, China’s economy is likely to continue to deteriorate, and in turn, hurt copper consumption.
- Housing starts rose at the highest rate in nearly eight years in July. Starts rose 0.2% at an annual rate of 1.21 million. However, building permits plunged 16.3% at an annual rate of 1.12 million. Economists noted that New York City tax incentives had boosted permits in June, and so this was a normalization of sorts. Single family housing starts rose 12.8% month-on-month, while multi unit starts fell 17%. “More housing starts means more construction jobs as well as confidence from real estate developers that people will be buying,” explained Indeed chief economist Tara Sinclair in a note.
- Home Depot sees “the continued recovery of the U.S. housing market,” according to CEO Craig Menear. The world’s largest home improvement retailer reported same-store sales above expectations, and raised its full-year forecast for sales and profits. The stock climbed to an all-time high of $US123.80 per share in trading.
- Walmart earnings were light. Wage increases and the stronger dollar chewed into its quarterly results earnings. Also, the number of people stealing from stores spiked. The retail giant cut its earnings outlook for the full year. It reported revenues of $US120.3 billion, just above the estimate for $US119.7 billion. Earnings after expenses came to $US1.08 per share, below the consensus forecast for $US1.12.
- Chinese stocks collapsed again. The benchmark Shanghai composite closed down 6.12%, its biggest percentage decline since July 27. Every sector on the index finished lower, with at least six tanking by more than 7%. Still, the Shanghai is up 67% over the past 12 months. The tech-heavy ChiNext fell more than 6%. According to Bloomberg, investors are cutting bets that the central bank will use more stimulus to revive the economy, following better-than-expected housing data.
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