U.S. stocks moved lower in early trading on Wall Street Tuesday as investors headed for more defensive holdings and watched for updates on trade negotiations between the U.S. and China.
Investors are also waiting for a speech by Fed Chairman Jerome Powell later Tuesday for any signal on the direction of interest rates.
Banks were among the biggest losers as bond prices rose and yields fell. Lower bond yields hurt a bank’s ability to charge higher interest on loans. The higher bond prices are also a sign that investors remain concerned about a slowdown in economic growth and are favoring seemingly safer holdings.
Bank of America fell 1.3% and Wells Fargo fell 1.5%.
Communications and internet stocks also fell, along with industrial and technology companies.
A 27% surge from Botox maker Allergan held up health care stocks. The company is being bought by drug developer AbbVie. The sector was the clear winner in early trading. Real estate was also gaining.
Consumer product makers, normally considered a safe-play holding, swayed between small gains and losses.
KEEPING SCORE: The S&P 500 index fell 0.2% as of 10:05 a.m. Eastern time. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 48 points, or 0.2%, to 26,681. The Nasdaq composite 0.3%.
WHERE WE STAND: Investors are essentially taking a step back after three weeks of gains while they wait for direction. Presidents Donald Trump and Xi Jinping will meet this week at the Group of 20 meeting of major economies in Japan. The world’s two largest economies spent much of the current quarter escalating their trade war and giving Wall Street jitters over prospects for economic growth.
Wall Street is hoping for the U.S. and China to at least find a path toward an eventual resolution to the trade war.
Meanwhile, the Federal Reserve has been reassuring Wall Street that it is prepared to cut rates to help stabilize the U.S. economy the trade war crimps growth.
REVENUE INJECTION: AbbVie fell 14.6% after the drug developer said it will pay around $63 billion for Allergan and add the blockbuster Botox to its products.
Allergan surged 27%.
Botox brought in $868.4 million in revenue for Allergan during the first quarter. AbbVie currently makes the blockbuster immune disorder treatment Humira, but revenue is expected to decline in the coming years as Humira loses patent protection and faces competition.
BUILDER’S MARKET: Lennar rose 1.8% after the homebuilder reported a jump in home sales and leaped over Wall Street’s fiscal second-quarter financial forecasts.
Lower mortgage rates have been helping potential home buyers overcome higher prices. But the picture is still mixed nationally. Existing home sales jumped 2.5% in May, but new home sales slumped 7.8%. Meanwhile, rates for the 30-year mortgage were averaging 3.84% last week, down sharply from 4.57% a year ago.