Stocks ended lower in a bumpy trading session Tuesday as investors awaited further progress on the stimulus package talks in Washington, D.C., and looked toward the first presidential debate between US President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped by 0.5% to 27,452.66. The S&P 500 declined by 0.5% to 3,335.47 and the Nasdaq Composite retreated by 0.3% to 11,085.25. Energy and financials led the decliners, with all sectors except communication services in the red.
President Trump will face off with Democratic presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden at 9 pm today, with questions ranging from healthcare to immigration, to trade and tariffs to infrastructure investment and the COVID-19 pandemic, which has now killed more than 1 million people globally.
While President Trump will argue for tax cuts and deregulation, Biden will reiterate plans to lift taxes on the wealthy and corporations, as well as restore ties with economic allies such as China, according to a report from Stifel.
In the aid package, Democrats are said to have made concessions to Republicans as nobody will want to be "accused of having refused essential government aid for tactical party-political reasons," a report from Commerzbank said. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin spoke Tuesday morning for under an hour, CNBC reported.
Among energy ETFs, the United States Oil Fund fell 3.5% to $27.70 and the United States Natural Gas Fund was down 9.5% to $11.29.
Oil prices had earlier been "lent tailwind by hopes of a new economic stimulus program in the US as this would brighten the prospects for demand," said Commerzbank in a note. But the clock is ticking on negotiations as workers grapple with the COVID-19 crisis.
Meanwhile, the Conference Board's monthly survey jumped to 101.8 from 86.3 in August, beating the consensus on Econoday for 88.8 and stemming two straight months of declines. In February, before the outbreak of the respiratory disease led to widespread lockdowns, the measure was at 132.6.
In corporate news, shares of US Energy (USEG) surged by 57% after the firm said it acquired the operated and non-operated producing properties in New Mexico and Wyoming for $500,000 in cash through the Chapter 7 bankruptcy process at Fieldpoint Petroleum. Myovant Sciences (MYOV) said additional findings from a phase 3 trial showed Relugolix failed to achieve statistical superiority for castration resistance-free survival, a secondary endpoint, compared with leuprolide acetate in men with metastatic prostate cancer. Shares plunged by 25.8%.
The West Texas Intermediate futures dropped by 4% to $38.99, while gold jumped 1% to $1,903.00 per ounce and silver was up 3.3% to $24.38 an ounce.
Among precious-metal funds, the Market Vectors Gold Miners ETF was up 1.3% to $39.37 and SPDR Gold Shares were up 0.8% to $178.19. The iShares Silver Trust was up 2.2% to $22.50.