September 23, 2021

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Stocks slide as CDC reverses mask recommendations

U.S. stock indexes slid off record highs Tuesday as investors sorted through a barrage of earnings reports and data as the Federal Reserve kicked off a two-day policy meeting and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reversed course on mask recommendations. 

WHITE HOUSE GRILLED ON MASK REVERSAL

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
I:DJI DOW JONES AVERAGES 35058.52 -85.79 -0.24%
SP500 S&P 500 4401.46 -20.84 -0.47%
I:COMP NASDAQ COMPOSITE INDEX 14660.575708 -180.14 -1.21%

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 84 points, or 0.24%, while the S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite were lower by 0.47% and 1.21%, respectively. The choppy trade comes a day after all three of the major averages closed at all-time highs.  

Tuesday’s selling came after the CDC recommended fully vaccinated people wear masks indoors in high-transmission places. The agency also suggested kids wear masks at school in the fall.  

In economic data, the Census Bureau said durable goods orders rose 0.8% in June, missing the 2.1% increase that was expected. Elsewhere, home prices rose 16.6% annually, the most on record, according to the national Case-Shiller index.  

Meanwhile, the Federal Reserve began its two-day meeting on Tuesday and is expected to keep policy on hold. Investors will be paying close attention to any hints the central bank offers regarding when it may begin to taper its asset purchase program or raise interest rates. Chair Powell has promised policymakers will provide plenty of notice as decisions are made. 

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In stocks, Tesla Inc. beat on both the top and bottom lines as the electric-car maker’s quarterly profit exceeded $1 billion for the first time. CEO Elon Musk said he likely won’t be on future earnings calls unless he has “something really important” to say.  

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
TSLA TESLA, INC. 644.78 -12.84 -1.95%

Dow component 3M Co. raised its annual sales and profit outlooks as business units that were battered by the pandemic showed signs of rebounding. 

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
MMM 3M CO. 200.47 -1.20 -0.59%

United Parcel Service Inc. reported quarterly revenue jumped 14.5% year over year as package delivery remained strong while consumers preferred to order online rather than shop in stores. Both earnings and revenue were ahead of Wall Street estimates. 

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
UPS UNITED PARCEL SERVICE, INC. 195.19 -14.67 -6.99%
FDX FEDEX CORP. 282.63 -14.87 -5.00%

General Electric Co. reported positive free cash flow and raised its annual forecast for the metric as its aviation business returned to growth. 

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
GE GENERAL ELECTRIC CO. 13.08 +0.16 +1.24%

Chinese tech stocks listed in the U.S. were pummeled for the third day after popular messaging app WeChat temporarily blocked new users from registering igniting more concerns over China’s government overreach. 

CHINESE STOCKS LISTED IN US TAKE BEATING

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
TCEHY TENCENT HOLDINGS LTD. 58.9 -1.28 -2.13%
JD JD.COM, INC. 64.77 -1.31 -1.98%
BABA ALIBABA GROUP HOLDING LTD. 186.07 -5.69 -2.97%
BIDU BAIDU, INC. 157.83 -4.54 -2.80%

Alphabet Inc., Apple Inc. and Microsoft Corp. will release their quarterly results after Tuesday’s closing bell. 

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
GOOGL ALPHABET, INC. 2,638.00 -42.70 -1.59%
AAPL APPLE, INC. 146.77 -2.22 -1.49%
MSFT MICROSOFT CORP. 286.54 -2.51 -0.87%

Outside of earnings, Starbucks Corp. will sell its stake in a $2 billion South Korean joint venture and use the proceeds to invest in faster-growing international markets.  

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
SBUX STARBUCKS CORP. 126.03 -0.03 -0.02%

In commodities, West Texas Intermediate crude oil slipped 26 cents to $71.65 a barrel and gold rose 80 cents to $1,799.50 an ounce.

Markets around the world were mostly lower. 

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European bourses were weaker across the board with Germany’s DAX 30 down 0.64%, France’s CAC 30 sliding 071% and Britain’s FTSE 100 weaker by 0.42%.

In Asia, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index declined 4.22%, extending its two-day drop to 8.18% after Chinese regulators clamped down on technology and private education companies. Elsewhere in the region, China’s Shanghai Composite fell 2.49% and Japan’s Nikkei advanced 0.49%.