Stocks Edges Higher as Investors Assess President Trump’s Budget Plan

(Reuters) —
stocks, markets, Wall Street, Trump, budget
Traders on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange observe a moment of silence Tuesday for victims of the terror attack on Monday night in Manchester, England. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

Wall Street edged higher in early afternoon on Tuesday, but stayed in a tight trading range, as a boost from financial stocks was tempered by a drop in consumer discretionary and tech stocks.

The S&P 500 briefly topped 2,400 points for the first time since the markets plunged last Wednesday. Since then, the three major indexes have risen for three straight session.

But that recovery stuttered on Tuesday as investors assessed the details of President Donald Trump’s first full budget plan as well as some weak economic data.

President Trump’s budget called for a hike in infrastructure and military spending, but also a raft of politically sensitive cuts, including to healthcare and food assistance programs for the poor, with the aim of chopping government spending by $3.6 trillion and balancing the budget over the next decade.

The budget in its current form is unlikely to be approved by Congress, which will craft its own tax and spending plans.

Economic data showed new single-family home sales in April tumbled from near a nine-and-a-half-year high, while manufacturing activity for May fell to the lowest level since September.

While the job market continues to strengthen, other pieces of data have shown a dip in consumer sentiment and spending, which makes up about two-thirds of U.S. economic activity.

“We’re likely to be in a sideways period in the market for the next few weeks as there are quite a bit of pieces of news the market is digesting, including geopolitical developments in Washington and globally,” said Lisa Kopp, head of traditional investments at U.S. Bank Wealth Management in Minneapolis.

At 12:38 p.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 34.06 points, or 0.16 percent, at 20,928.89; the S&P 500 was up 4.36 points, or 0.18 percent, at 2,398.38; and the Nasdaq Composite was down 1.09 points, or 0.02 percent, at 6,132.53.

The market also seemed to have shrugged off news of a suicide attack in Britain. U.S. futures had slipped slightly on Monday evening, before recovering, on news of the attack that killed 22 people and wounded many more at a pop concert in the English city of Manchester.

Eight of the 11 major S&P 500 sectors were higher, with the utilities and financials leading the gainers.

Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan provided the biggest boost to the Dow and S&P.

Apple and Facebook dragged on the Nasdaq.

Consumer discretionary was the biggest laggard with a 0.28 percent drop, as auto part retailers weighed.

Autozone fell 8.3 percent to $604.98 after the auto part retailer’s quarterly results came in below expectations. Advance Auto Parts, O’Reilly Automotive and Genuine Parts were down between 1.6 percent and 2.9 percent.

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners on the NYSE by 1,770 to 1,042. On the Nasdaq, 1,418 issues rose and 1,339 fell.

The S&P 500 index showed 47 new 52-week highs and seven new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 73 new highs and 46 new lows.

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