Tech rally burns out, leaves Wall Street lower

Tech rally burns out, leaves Wall Street lower

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images/AFP)

NEW YORK: Wall Street fell on Tuesday (Dec 5) as a technology rebound lost steam and Walt Disney Co shares dipped, while investors assessed how a Republican US tax overhaul would impact corporate earnings.

The S&P 500 fell for a third straight session, a streak not seen since early August, trimming the index's rally this year to 17 per cent.

Buoyed by a 2.53 per cent increase in Electronic Arts Inc , the S&P 500 information technology index ended up 0.21 per cent, but pared earlier gains of as much as 1.39 per cent.

The year's top-performing sector was still down nearly four per cent over the past week, with investors shifting money to banks, retailers and other stocks seen as likely to benefit the most from tax cuts promised by US President Donald Trump.

The bill passed on Saturday by Republican senators included a last-minute change retaining the corporate alternative minimum tax, or AMT, which had initially been removed.

That put Senate Republicans on a collision course with Republicans in the US House of Representatives, whose own tax bill repealed the corporate AMT and who are already calling for the tax to be eliminated in the final legislation. Including the AMT could negate parts of the bill seen as beneficial to tech companies and other corporations.

"Sentiment still remains that tax reform will get done and we will get a 20 per cent tax rate, and that will boost earnings significantly," said Lindsey Bell, an investment strategist at CFRA Research.

Such a tax rate cut could boost S&P 500 earnings next year by an extra nine per cent, Bell said.

All three major indexes moved sharply lower late in the session.

"You don't want things to slip away at the end of the year, so it's tempting to take things off the table, maybe buy something that's been beaten up," said Frank Gretz, a analyst for Wellington Shields & Co, a brokerage in New York.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 109.41 points (0.45 per cent) to end at 24,180.64, while the S&P 500 ended down 9.87 points (0.37 per cent) at 2,629.57.

The Nasdaq Composite dropped 13.15 points (0.19 per cent) to 6,762.21.

Ten of the 11 major S&P sectors fell, led by losses in telecom services and utilities.

Shares of Twenty-First Century Fox slipped 0.30 per cent after a report that Walt Disney was in the lead to acquire much of Fox's media empire, though rival suitor Comcast Corp remained in contention.

Disney shares fell 2.72 per cent and Comcast slipped 1.98 per cent.

McDonald's rose 1.37 per cent, providing the biggest boost to the Dow, after Jefferies upgraded the stock to a "buy" rating.

Toll Brothers Inc fell 7.36 per cent after the luxury homebuilder's profit and revenue missed analysts' expectations as it sold homes at prices lower than its own estimates.

Declining issues outnumbered advancing ones on the NYSE by a 1.80-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 1.83-to-1 ratio favored decliners.

About 6.9 billion shares changed hands on US exchanges, just above the 6.7 billion daily average for the past 20 trading days, according to Thomson Reuters data.

Source: Reuters

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