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Stocks - S&P 500 Snaps Win Streak as Political Turmoil Grips Wall Street

Stock MarketsAug 22, 2018 04:37PM ET
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© Reuters. US stocks were weighed down by political uncertainty in Washington on Wednesday

Investing.com - The S&P 500 closed marginally lower Wednesday, as gains in energy were offset by political uncertainty in Washington.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell about 0.34%. The S&P 500 fell 0.04%, while the Nasdaq Composite rose about 0.38%.

U.S. stocks battled political turmoil in Washington after two former members of President Donald Trump's inner circle faced legal repercussions, raising the risk of a bumpy road for the president ahead of midterm elections.

Trump's former campaign chairman Paul Manafort was convicted on eight counts and the president’s former lawyer Michael Cohen made a plea deal and said he violated the law at the behest of Trump.

Those worries were weighed against an ongoing run of upbeat earnings, which helped shift the narrative toward the underlying strength of U.S. corporates.

Target (NYSE:TGT) stock closed 3% higher after the retailer reported better-than-expected earnings as comp sales grew the most in 13 years. While Lowe’s NYSE:LOW) stock closed 5.8% higher, buoyed by an above-forecast earnings report and turnaround plans.

The broader market was also nudged higher by rip-roaring energy stocks as oil prices hit two-week highs after data showed U.S. crude stockpiles fell more than expected.

The large draw in crude supplies was supported by a 1.059 million barrels plunge in imports, offsetting a 2.58 million decline in exports, data from EIA showed.

On the New York Mercantile Exchange crude futures for October delivery rose 3.1% to settle at $67.89 a barrel.

A fourth-straight monthly plunge in existing home sales, meanwhile, did little to help confidence in the broader market.

The Commerce Department showed existing home sales fell 0.7% in July from the prior month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 534 million units. Economists were expecting a 0.6% increase to 5.44 million homes.

Investor attention was swayed, albeit briefly, in the latter part of the session as investors parsed the minutes of the Federal Reserve last meeting.

The minutes showed policymakers welcomed further increases amid expectations for the economy to continue to expand at above-trend pace. The Fed's plan to continue raising rates comes just days after Trump blasted Fed chairman Jerome Powell for raising interest rates, urging the central bank to do more to foster economic growth.

On the trade front, meanwhile, mid-level talks between China and U.S. fuelled new hopes that a full-blown trade war between the world's two largest economic may be averted. Yet, trade-sensitive names like Boeing (NYSE:BA) and Caterpillar (NYSE:CAT) struggled to pare losses, closing lower for the day.

Top S&P 500 Gainers and Losers Today:

Lowe’s (NYSE:LOW) , Noble Energy (NYSE:NBL) and Nvidia (NASDAQ:NVDA) were among the top S&P 500 gainers for the session.

CenturyLink (NYSE:CTL), Public Storage (NYSE:PSA) and Hartford Financial Services (NYSE:HIG) were among the worst S&P 500 performers of the session.

Stocks - S&P 500 Snaps Win Streak as Political Turmoil Grips Wall Street
 

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Comments (2)
Silverbug 19
Silverbug 19 Aug 22, 2018 9:08PM ET
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Hillary clean as can be. Stand up citizen
Yogish Prabhu
Yogish Prabhu Aug 22, 2018 8:36PM ET
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Trump Derangement syndrome --dow down 88 points , headline political turmoil and a trader with his hands on head .....nice try leftist propaganda
 
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