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Stocks Close Modestly Lower After Trump Warns North Korea - U.S. Commentary

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Stocks fluctuated over the course of the trading session on Tuesday before eventually closing modestly lower. The drop on the day ended the Dow's streak of setting new record closing highs for nine consecutive sessions.

The major averages ended the day posting modest losses. The Dow edged down 33.08 points or 0.2 percent to 22,085.34, the Nasdaq dipped 13.31 points or 0.2 percent to 6,370.46 and the S&P 500 slipped 5.99 points or 0.2 percent to 2,474.92.

The lower close by the major averages came after remarks by President Donald Trump added to concerns about rising tensions between the U.S. and North Korea.

Trump told reporters further threats from North Korea would be "met with fire, fury and frankly power the likes of which this world has never seen before."

The comments came after reports said the U.S. intelligence community has determined that North Korea has successfully produced a miniaturized nuclear warhead that can fit inside its missiles.

Earlier in the day, trading was impacted by a report from the Labor Department showing an unexpected jump in job openings in the month of June.

The Labor Department said job openings surged up to a record 6.2 million on the last business day of June from 5.7 million on the last business day of May. Economists had expected job openings to drop to 5.6 million.

Nonetheless, traders seemed reluctant to make more significant moves ahead of the release of reports on labor productivity and costs and producer and consumer price inflation in the coming days.

Remarks by Federal Reserve officials may also attract attention later this week, as traders look for clues about the outlook for monetary policy.

In a speech on Monday, St. Louis Fed President James Bullard said the current level of interest rates is likely to remain appropriate over the near term amid subdued inflation.

Sector News

Oil service stocks showed a significant move to the downside on the day, dragging the Philadelphia Oil Service Index down by 1.9 percent. With the drop, the index fell to its lowest closing level in a month.

The weakness among oil service stocks came amid a modest decrease by the price of crude oil, with crude for September delivery slipping $0.22 to $49.17 a barrel.

Considerable weakness was also visible among biotech stocks, as reflected by the 1.6 percent slump by the NYSE Arca Biotechnology Index. Depomed (DEPO) posted a particularly steep loss after lowering its full-year guidance.

Telecom, chemical, and brokerage stocks also saw notable weakness, while most of the other major sectors showed more modest moves.

Other Markets

In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region turned in a mixed performance during trading on Tuesday. Japan's Nikkei 225 Index fell by 0.3 percent, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index advanced by 0.6 percent.

Meanwhile, the major European markets moved modestly higher over the course of the session. While the German DAX Index rose by 0.3 percent, the French CAC 40 Index and the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index edged up by 0.2 percent and 0.1 percent, respectively.

In the bond market, treasuries moved back to the downside following the uptick seen in the previous session. As a result, the yield on the benchmark ten-year note, which moves opposite of its price, rose by 2.6 basis points to 2.283 percent.

Looking Ahead

Following two relatively quiet days on the U.S. economic front, trading on Wednesday may be impacted by a report on labor productivity and costs in the second quarter.

Earnings news may also continue to attract attention, with Disney (DIS), Hertz Global (HTZ), Hostess Brands (TWNK), and Priceline (PCLN) among the companies releasing their quarterly results after the close of today's trading.

Crocs (CROX), Office Depot (ODP), and Wendy's (WEN) are also among the companies due to report their results before the start of trading on Wednesday.

by RTT Staff Writer

For comments and feedback: editorial@rttnews.com

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