U.S. stock-index benchmarks on Tuesday traded lower as investors grappled with shaky economic reports and corporate results that, although were better than expected, raised some doubts about future results.
In corporate news, Netflix’s earnings-driven leap was offset by a decline in shares of Goldman Sachs Group Inc. GS, -2.19% shares, which dropped 1.6% after quarterly results that showed a 40% decline in an important segment of trading.
The S&P 500 index SPX, -0.16% was down by 3 points, or 0.1%, to 2,456, with most of its sectors trading in negative territory. Health-care stocks led losses, down 0.5%, while consumer-discretionary stocks rose 0.1%.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA, -0.50% declined 64 points, or 0.3%, to 21, 565. Of the 30 blue-chip companies, 26 were trading in negative territory, with the price-weighted gauge being weighed down by Goldman and UnitedHealth Group Inc. UNH, -0.73%
The Nasdaq Composite Index COMP, +0.07% was flat at 6,312, only about 10 points below its record close set in June.
The dollar DXY, -0.65% fell earlier Tuesday against its main rivals after Republican leaders in the Senate late Monday ditched their effort to repeal and simultaneously replace Obamacare, also known as the Affordable Care Act.
Still, some investors were bullish about recent quarterly results.
“The market is responding to earnings releases this week, but the bigger picture remains positive: low inflation, low interest rates, weaker dollar and a benign economic environment all bode well for stocks,” said Maris Ogg, president at Tower Bridge Advisors.
She said signs of global strength were also heartening.
“European economy is growing, China is growing and companies are making money, which suggests that earnings growth for next year looks good,” Ogg said.
Despite modest losses on Tuesday, the main indexes were hovering near record levels set last week.
Ogg said the stock market hasn’t been relying on sweeping reforms from President Donald Trump’s administration, including tax cuts, regulation and infrastructure spending, which is why the reaction in equity markets to the collapse of the health-care bill has been muted, so far.
“Even though we haven’t seen any specific reforms yet, this administration is still very business-friendly, which has not gone unnoticed by stock investors,” she said.
Individual movers: Shares in Netflix NFLX, +11.47% jumped after the streaming giant late Monday posted larger-than-expected growth in subscribers while reporting quarterly earnings. The stock climbed nearly 9% for the S&P 500’s biggest gain.
UnitedHealth posted quarterly profit that beat expectations and sales that matched forecasts, while Johnson & Johnson’s JNJ, +0.33% earnings beat but sales missed. Both stocks were down in early trade.
Economic news: A June reading on U.S. import prices dropped by 0.2%. Separately, the monthly confidence gauge from the National Association of Home Builders fell two points to a reading of 64. June’s reading, initially reported as 67, was cut by one point.
Check out: MarketWatch’s Economic Calendar
Other markets: Oil futures CLQ7, +0.85% were gaining, recovering from the prior day’s slump. European equities SXXP, -1.19% were mostly lower, while Asian markets closed mixed. Gold futures GCQ7, +0.67% traded modestly higher.