New York: US stocks fell on Tuesday, weighed down by weak housing data and declining energy shares.
Energy companies fell along with oil prices amid uncertainty about regulation of the industry. A US judge ruled against a six-month moratorium imposed by the White House on deepwater drilling, but the Obama administration said it will immediately appeal.
Cabot Oil & Gas Corp shares dropped 6.2% to $33.70 and the S&P energy sector fell 1.3%.
“The notion that the regulatory environment is changing, coordinated with a tougher economic outlook for consumption, would suggest (energy) stocks stay under pressure,” said Joe Battipaglia, market strategist at Stifel Nicolaus in Yardley, Pennsylvania.
Limiting losses in the tech sector was Apple Inc, which rose on iPad sales and positive brokerage comments.
The Dow Jones industrial average dropped 84.65 points, or 0.81%, to 10,357.76. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index fell 10.73 points, or 0.96%, to 1,102.47. The Nasdaq Composite Index lost 11.49 points, or 0.50%, to 2,277.60.
The S&P 500 was struggling to stay above its 200-day moving average, a key technical level it broke last week.
Data from the National Association of Realtors showed sales of existing homes fell in May when analysts had expected an increase, sending shares of homebuilders and home-improvement retailers lower..
Homebuilder PulteGroup Inc fell 2.1% to $8.96 and Home Depot Inc, the leading US home-improvement chain, fell 2% to $30.79. The Morgan Stanley housing index dropped 1.4%.
Apple rose on upbeat brokerage comments and after it said it sold 3 million iPads in 80 days. Its shares were 1.6% higher to $274.43 and helped keep the Nasdaq’s losses in check..
Deutsche Bank raised its price target for Apple to $375 while Barclays Capital said a new carrier for Apple’s iPhone “would extend and accelerate the iPhone 4 cycle.” The iPhone 4 is expected to debut this week.
Among other rising shares, Jefferies Group posted a higher-than-expected quarterly profit as its investment banking revenues more than doubled, and its shares jumped 7.4% to $24.57.
The KBW capital markets index rose 0.5%.