Stock indexes were modestly lower Tuesday after a big Monday for technology shares. There was some bad news on the Covid-19 vaccine front and little progress toward a fiscal stimulus bill in Washington, but most of Tuesday’s action was on the individual stock level, as third-quarter earnings season kicks off.
On Tuesday morning, the
Dow Jones Industrial Average
fell 110 points, or 0.4%, the
also dipped 0.4%, and the
ticked down less than 0.1%.
It was a contrast to Monday, when stocks jumped on little news during a light Columbus Day holiday and the technology-heavy Nasdaq rallied 2.6% to its third-highest close in history.
Contributing to the lackluster trading on Tuesday was an announcement from
Johnson & Johnson
(ticker: JNJ) on Monday night that it paused its trial of a coronavirus vaccine after an unexplained illness in a trial participant.
It isn’t uncommon for drugmakers to pause trials in this way, and so far the pause isn’t the more serious clinical hold.
“Investors’ risk appetite is on hold today following delays and difficulties in the development of a vaccine from Johnson & Johnson, while infection numbers keep on increasing everywhere,” said Pierre Veyret, technical analyst at ActivTrades. He added investors are acting cautiously ahead of earnings results and after the rally on Monday.
Released on Tuesday morning, the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ consumer price index for September came in about as expected. The National Federation of Independent Business’ small business optimism index for September beat forecasts and rose to its highest level since January.
Global stocks similarly lost Monday’s momentum on Tuesday. Asian stocks saw muted moves, with the Nikkei 225 rising 0.2% and indexes in China, India, and South Korea hugging the flat line.
In Europe, the Stoxx 600 index slipped 0.6%, as the German
fell 1.1% and the French
lost 0.7%. The U.K.’s
was down 0.6%.
(C) stock fell 3.7% after the bank reported better-than-expected earnings, while
(JPM) lost 1.4% after an earnings beat of its own. Both companies reported relatively low loan-loss reserves.
(BLK) stock gained 3.5% after a strong earnings report on Tuesday morning. “You wouldn’t know we’d been in a global pandemic: These results were outstanding,” said one analyst.
Separately from its vaccine trial announcement, Johnson & Johnson reported better-than-expected revenue and earnings in the third quarter. It also raised its sales and earnings forecast for the year. Johnson & Johnson was down 1.9%.
(AAPL) stock slipped 0.6% ahead of its iPhone launch event at 1 p.m. Eastern time, after gaining 6.4% on Monday.
(AMZN) stock advanced 1% as its Prime Day event begins. It rose 4.8% on Monday.
(DIS) stock gained 3.3% after announcing a reorganization of its media and entertainment segments to focus on its streaming business. The announcement comes after activist investor Dan Loeb called for the company to eliminate its dividend and use the money to build that business, but had likely been in the works long before the Third Point investor showed up.
(EXC) rose 0.6% after Bloomberg reported that the utility is looking to sell its nuclear business and other assets.
(MU) was up 3.6% after getting upgraded to Buy from Hold at Deutsche Bank.
Delta Air Lines
(DAL) stock lost 1.4% after the company reported quarterly results on Tuesday morning.
had a pre-tax loss of $6.9 billion on $3.1 billion in revenue, and said it ended the quarter with $21.6 billion in liquidity.
American Airlines Group
(AAL) shares fell 3.8% after getting cut to Negative from Neutral at Susquehanna, while
Alaska Air Group
(ALK) slipped 0.3% after Susquehanna upgraded it to Positive from Neutral.
(XOM) stock was down 0.2% after getting upgraded to Neutral from Sell at Goldman Sachs.
Write to Ben Levisohn at Ben.Levisohn@barrons.com