U.S. stocks fell on Tuesday as shares of General Electric slumped for a second straight day. Concerns about a potential global economic slowdown and U.S. tax reform also dampened investor sentiment.
The Dow Jones industrial average declined 30.23 points to close at 23,409.47 as shares of General Electric slumped for a second straight day. The 30-stock index briefly fell more than 150 points.
GE shares fell 5.9 percent to their lowest level since 2011 and have fallen more than 12 percent over the past two days. The company unveiled a massive restructuring plan and slashed its dividend by 50 percent at an investor meeting on Monday.
Analysts across Wall Street remained “unsettled” by what they heard as GE’s turnaround plan disappointed them.
Equities were also pressured by disappointing economic data out of China, which raised concern about the global economy.
The Nasdaq composite pulled back 0.3 percent to close at 6,737.87.
Chinese data released overnight on retail sales, industrial output and fixed asset investment growth all missed expectations. Asian equity markets closed mostly lower, with the Shanghai composite slipping 0.5 percent. European stocks followed suit, with the broad Stoxx 600 index declining half a percent.
This reaction is “not that strange given we’re near all-time highs,” said Art Hogan, chief market strategist at Wunderlich Securities. “We’ve got global synchronized economic growth and China is a very important part of that. If there’s a slowdown there, that would spill over into global markets.”
The Chinese 10-year yield hit its highest level in three years and copper prices fell following the data releases.
“China’s economy will inevitably slow further if we actually see slower credit growth and now we have rising interest rates,” Peter Boockvar, chief market analyst at The Lindsey Group, said in a note.
Investors also grew worried about the whether Republican lawmakers would pass a tax plan by year-end. Last week, the Senate unveiled a tax bill that would delay cutting the corporate tax rate to 20 percent until 2019. The current U.S. corporate tax rate is 35 percent. The House, meanwhile, wants to vote on its own tax bill this week. The House bill would immediately reduce the corporate rate.
“While both House and Senate tax bills have much in common, several key differences exist that will need to be worked out,” L. Thomas Block, head of research at Fundstrat Global Advisors, said in a note. Potential obstacles to reaching a compromise between lawmakers include “rebellions by high tax state Republicans or conservative deficit hawks, mortgage interest deductions, treatment of “pass-through” income for small businesses, and the future of the estate tax,” he said.
On Tuesday, Senate GOP leaders said their tax reform will include the repeal of the Obamacare individual mandate, which requires most Americans to have some form of health coverage. If they fail to comply with the mandate, they must pay a tax penalty.
Regional bank stocks bucked the overall negative trend in the market Tuesday. The SPDR S&P Regional Banking ETF (KRE) rose 0.8 percent. The ETF also rose on Monday after Senate lawmakers struck a bipartisan deal to ease regulation for smaller banks.
Wall Street also paid attention to the retail space, as several companies in the industry reported quarterly results on Tuesday.
Dow-component Home Depot reported earnings and revenue that beat expectations. Same-store sales — a key metric for retailers — crushed estimates. The stock rose 1.6 percent.
TJX Companies, the parent company of TJ Maxx, posted earnings per share that were in line with expectations, while revenue missed. But the company’s stock fell after its same-store sales for the quarter remained flat. Analysts polled by Reuters expected a gain of 2.3 percent. TJX shares fell 4 percent.
In economic news, the U.S. producer price index rose 0.4 percent in October. Economists polled by Reuters expected an increase of 0.1 percent.
“The PPI data exceeded expectations across the board as wholesale prices continue to adhere to its uptrend that began in early 2016. This inflationary pressure has yet to spill over to Main Street,” said Jeremy Klein, chief market strategist at FBN Securities, in a note.
The short-term two-year note yield traded higher at 1.691 percent following the data’s release. But the 10-year yield fell to trade at 2.37 percent.
“If inversion becomes a viable concern, then investors across the capital markets will dump risk accordingly,” said FBN’s Klein, referring to the possibility of an inverted yield curve.