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Stocks - Dow Ends Lower in Volatile Trade With Big-Tech Earnings Eyed

By Yasin Ebrahim 

Investing.com – The Dow swung between losses and gains to end Tuesday in negative territory as investors weighed up mixed earnings and further signs of weakness in the economy as consumer confidence plunged.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.13%, or about 32 points, but had gained as many as 378 points at session highs. The S&P 500 fell about 0.5%, while the Nasdaq Composite slipped 1.4%.

The earnings season continued to serve up mixed earnings and reflect the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on quarterly performance.

Merck (NYSE:MRK) fell after the drugmaker pulled its guidance and warned of a $2.1 billion hit to full-year sales from the Covid-19 pandemic, which has killed about 57,000 nationwide and infected more than 1 million.

The gloomy outlook offset quarterly results that beat on the top and bottom lines.

In industrials, Caterpillar (NYSE:CAT) missed consensus estimates following a coronavirus-led impact to construction and mining demand. 3M (NYSE:MMM), meanwhile, said its earnings received a boost from a coronavirus-led jump in demand in personal safety equipment sales.

The mixed backdrop of earnings arrived ahead of a big week for large-cap tech stocks, with the majority of FAANG names set to report this week.

Google-parent Alphabet (NASDAQ:GOOGL), which reports after the close today, slipped about 3%, Facebook (NASDAQ:FB), Amazon.com (NASDAQ:AMZN) and Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL), all of which report over the coming days, were all lower.

Retailers, meanwhile, caught a bid despite signs of weakness in the consumer, as investors seemingly bet the worst of the pandemic may be over as the U.S. gets its partial economic restart underway.

JC Penney (NYSE:JCP) rallied 13%, L Brands (NYSE:LB) and Gap (NYSE:GPS) were up about 10%.

The Conference Board’s consumer confidence gauge fell to 86.9 this month.

Energy, meanwhile, rose more than 2% as oil prices cut some of their losses to settle down 3.4% as crude capacity constraints persist ahead of weekly data expected to show another large build in inventories.

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