Stocks were slumping a bit in early trading following the Senate's passage yesterday of a bill expressing support for Hong Kong's autonomy, but the pullback was fairly mild until headlines from Reuters regarding a potential delay in locking up the "phase one" trade deal between the U.S. and China added further pressure. The major averages came off their lows by the end of the session, but still closed lower as the trade worries overshadowed a pair of strong reports from two big-name retailers.
ECONOMIC EVENTS: In the U.S., minutes from the Federal Reserve's last rate setting meeting showed that most Fed members see its monetary policy stance as "well calibrated," while many participants see risks to the country's economic outlook as elevated. Additionally, the Fed said that business leverage has "remained at or near record-high levels."
TOP NEWS: Shares of Target (TGT) jumped over 14% after the retailer reported better than expected sales and profits for the third quarter and raised its full-year forecast ahead of the critical holiday quarter. Discussing the results, chairman and CEO Brian Cornell touted that Target is "seeing industry-leading strength across multiple metrics, from the top line to the bottom line."
Home improvement retailer Lowe's (LOW) also rose 3.9% following its own "beat and raise" third quarter report, with CEO Marvin Ellison attributing the "strong" earnings per share growth to the company's "improved execution
General Motors (GM) confirmed that it filed a lawsuit today in U.S. District Court in Detroit alleging Fiat Chrysler (FCAU) got an unfair business advantage by bribing officials of the United Auto Workers union. The suit alleges that Fiat corrupted the bargaining process with the UAW in the 2009, 2011 and 2015 union contracts to gain advantages over GM. In response, Fiat Chrysler told Bloomberg that it is "astonished" by the lawsuit, adding that it will defend itself against the "meritless" charges. At the close, shares of Fiat Chrysler fell 3.8%, while GM was 3% lower.
MAJOR MOVERS: Among the noteworthy gainers was Kiniksa (KNSA), which rose 28.7% after it announced Breakthrough Therapy designation for rilonacept. Also higher was Alnylam (ALNY), which gained 10.5% after it confirmed that the FDA approved its Givlaari injection for subcutaneous use for the treatment of adults with acute hepatic porphyria, or AHP.
Among the notable losers was Urban Outfitters (URBN), which slid 15.2% after reporting quarterly results. Also lower after its quarterly report was China's Pinduoduo (PDD), which fell 22.9%.
INDEXES: The Dow fell 112.93, or 0.40%, to 27,821.09, the Nasdaq lost 43.93, or 0.51%, to 8,526.73, and the S&P 500 declined 11.72, or 0.38%, to 3,108.46.