Stocks opened lower, adding to yesterdayâ€™s losses, as investors have grown more pessimistic on the prospects of a trade deal with China. The averages moved lower in the opening hour until finding a level, from where they began to move in a narrow range. The small trading range lasted until the final 30 minutes of trading, when the averages pared their losses.
ECONOMIC EVENTS: In the U.S., Baker Hughes reported that the U.S. rig count is up 4 from last week to 1,049 rigs.
TOP NEWS: In a post on Medium, Amazon (AMZN) CEO and owner of the Washington Post Jeff Bezos accused American Media, Inc., the owner of the National Enquirer magazine, of attempting to blackmail him. On January 10, the day after Jeff and MacKenzie Bezos announced plans to divorce, the National Enquirer said it was about to release scandalous photos of Jeff Bezos' alleged affair. Later this afternoon, Bloomberg reported that Federal prosecutors in Manhattan are reviewing the Enquirer's handling of its story about Jeff Bezos' estramarital affair to determine if the company violated an earlier cooperation pact with prosecutors.
In other Amazon news, the Washington Post reported that executives at the e-commerce giant have had internal discussions recently to reassess the situation in New York and explore alternatives to a new New York City campus following a wave of opposition from local politicians. Final approval from New York state for Amazon's headquarters plans is not expected until 2020, the Post noted.
Shares of Arconic (ARNC) were 3.3% lower after the aluminum products maker said it would explore the potential sale of certain businesses and plans to split itself into two units, with a spinoff of one unit at a later date. The news comes days after John Plant took over as CEO as Arconic cut ties with former CEO Chip Blankenship two weeks after the company walked away from a deal to be acquired by Apollo Global (APO).
Hasbro's (HAS) earnings report disappointed Wall Street, as the company was hurt by a number of factors, including the liquidation of Toys R Us. Meanwhile, rival Mattel (MAT) beat the Street's forecasts in its holiday quarter, saying that its Barbie line ended 2018 with its highest sales in five years. Shares of the toymakers moved in opposite directions following their reports, with Hasbro falling just under 1% and Mattel jumping 23.2%.
MAJOR MOVERS: Among the noteworthy gainers was Electronic Arts (EA), which jumped over 16% after its Respawn unit said that over 10M players have played the company's new game "Apex Legends." Also higher were Coty (COTY) and Motorola Solutions (MSI), which gained a respective 32.1% and 14% after reporting quarterly results.
Among the notable losers was Micron (MU), which slipped 2% after Goldman Sachs analyst Mark Delaney said in a research note that DRAM and NAND pricing continues to deteriorate. Also lower were Vocera (VCRA) and Carbonite (CARB), which fell 18.56% and 18.6%, respectively, after reporting quarterly results.
INDEXES: The Dow fell 63.20, or 0.25%, to 25,106.33, the Nasdaq gained 9.85, or 0.14%, to 7,298.20, and the S&P 500 inched higher by 1.83, or 0.06%, to 2,707.88.