Techs Turn Negative, Dow Goes South

Major U.S. stock indexes wiped out earlier gains and closed at their session lows on Tuesday as Big Tech stocks reversed lower, while data showing housing starts dropped sharply last month also weighed on sentiment.

The Dow Jones Industrials tumbled 267.13 points to 34,060.66.

The S&P 500 skidded 35.46 points to 4,127.83.

The NASDAQ gave up earlier gains and slid 75.41 points to 13,303.64, as Apple, Amazon, Facebook and Alphabet all rolled over and fell more than 1% on the day.

Investors also digested better-than-expected earnings from big retailers. Walmart shares jumped more than 2% after reporting strong grocery sales and e-commerce growth for the quarter. Macy’s posted a surprise profit and hiked its full-year outlook, but its shares erased earlier gains and dipped 0.4%.

Home Depot reported earnings of $3.86 a share for the previous quarter, much higher than the $3.08 expected by analysts. Net sales surged 32.7%, more than expected. The stock ended the session 1% lower.

Housing starts tumbled 9.5% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.569 million units last month, the Commerce Department said on Tuesday. Economists polled by Dow Jones had forecast starts falling to a rate of 1.7 million units in April.

Growth-heavy stocks have remained under pressure in recent sessions as investors fret over whether a pop in inflation will entrench or blow over as the Federal Reserve expects. Inflation above the Fed’s 2% target for a sustained period could prompt the central bank to tighten monetary policy and dampen stocks that outperform the market when interest rates are low.

The Fed’s minutes from its last meeting, which will be released Wednesday, could offer some clues on policymakers’ thinking on inflation.

Elsewhere, the first-quarter earnings season is wrapping up with more than 90% of the S&P 500 companies having reported their results. So far, 86% of S&P 500 companies have reported a positive EPS surprise, which would mark the highest percentage of positive earnings surprises since 2008 when FactSet began tracking this metric.

Prices for 10-Year Treasurys were slightly higher, lowering yields to 1.64% from Monday’s 1.65%. Treasury prices and yields move in opposite directions.

Oil prices sank 77 cents to $65.50 U.S. a barrel.

Gold prices regained $1.90 to $1,869.50 U.S. an ounce.

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