By Yashaswini Swamynathan
U.S. stocks pulled back on Tuesday after the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq Composite hit record intraday highs as a decline in healthcare stocks offset gains in technology.The main indexes have been trading near record levels, supported largely by strong first-quarter earnings, but global geopolitical tensions and developments in Washington could unsettle the market's record-setting spree.Investors turned cautious after reports that President Donald Trump disclosed highly classified information to Russia's foreign minister about a planned Islamic State operation.The latest development could distract the Trump administration from its priorities such as tax reform, healthcare and simpler regulations.Analysts, however, played down the potential impact to the market."This kind of backdrop is very conducive to stock-pickers and that is helping drive idiosyncratic positions across markets," said Matt Miskin, senior capital markets research analyst at John Hancock Investments in Boston, Massachusetts.
"As long as we have growth, whether it is earnings or economic data, the markets are likely to be able to take such (political) headlines in stride."Home Depot's (HD.N) better-than-expected first-quarter performance drove the stock up 1.4 percent, providing the biggest boost to the Dow. Smaller rival Lowe's (LOW.N) was up 0.5 percent.A report from the Federal Reserve showed U.S. factory output in April rose at its fastest clip in three years, supporting a view that economic growth was rebounding in the second quarter after a sluggish start to the year.
At 12:41 p.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average .DJI was up 12.53 points, or 0.06 percent, at 20,994.47. The S&P 500 .SPX was down 0.77 points, or 0.03 percent, at 2,401.55, easing from an all-time high of 2,405.77. The Nasdaq Composite .IXIC was up 11.70 points, or 0.19 percent, at 6,161.37, after touching a record of 6,162.71.
Five of the 11 major S&P 500 sectors were lower, led by a 0.4 percent decline in healthcare .SPXHC. Technology .SPLRCT was up 0.27 percent, helped by Microsoft (MSFT.O), and the rest were flat.Pfizer (PFE.N) was down 1.7 percent at $32.54 after Citigroup downgraded the drug developer's stock to "sell" from "neutral".Staples (SPLS.O) was off 3.6 percent and was the top percentage loser on the S&P 500 after the office supplies retailer reported a decline in quarterly sales.Declining issues outnumbered advancers on the NYSE by 1,610 to 1,176. On the Nasdaq, 1,552 issues fell and 1,208 advanced.The S&P 500 index showed 55 new 52-week highs and 12 new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 104 new highs and 49 new lows. (Reporting by Yashaswini Swamynathan in Bengaluru; Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty)
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Updated Date: May 16, 2017 23:45 PM