Stocks – Major Averages Nearly Recover From Impeachment Slump

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© Reuters. © Reuters. – Stocks slumped badly in the middle of the day, but recovered a bit in the last hour of trading to end the day with modest losses.

Shares tumbled on all the news coverage of the Trump whistleblower controversy and the potential for impeachment. But a rebound began because of strength in housing stocks and a forecast from Tesla (NASDAQ:) that third-quarter production might reach 100,000 vehicles for the first time.

The ended off 7 points, or 0.24%, after falling as many as 22 points. The fell 0.3%. The index had been down as many as 166 points and, with the S&P 500, briefly went positive. But late selling starting around 3:30 p.m. PM pushed the indexes lower.

The was the weakest link, down 0.6%. Small-cap stocks were especially weak.

The S&P 500 suffered its third loss in five days and finished below 3,000 for a fifth straight trading day.

The malaise in stocks is continuing largely because of trade jitters and the impeachment threat swirling around President Trump. With Thursday’s close, the S&P 500 is 1.66% below its July peak. The Dow is down 1.85%, and the Nasdaq is off 3.7%.

But a profit warning from cruise-line giant Carnival (NYSE:) on Thursday made investors look at the slowing economies in Europe as well. Carnival’s cruise ships operate around the world, and the company noted depressed bookings in the latter half of this year and into next, with economic malaise making Europe the weakest part of their business. Carnival shares fell 8.6% on Thursday and are down 10.9% for the year and 34.5% since a September 2018 peak.

Housing stocks were nearly all higher thanks to reports this week of strong new home sales and buyer interest responding to lower mortgage rates. At least five hit 52-week highs, including DR Horton (NYSE:), PulteGroup (NYSE:) and KBHome (NYSE:).

Housing-related stocks like Sherwin-Williams (NYSE:) and Whirlpool (NYSE:) also moved higher.

Interest-rate sensitive stocks, including commercial real estate developers, utilities stocks and consumer staples stocks led the market as interest rates moved lower.

Energy, communications services and healthcare stocks were weaker. Health-insurance giant UnitedHealth Group (NYSE:) shares fell more than 3% and subtracted 45 points from the by itself. The shares are down 13.5% on the year, the third-worst performer among the 30 Dow stocks.

The yield was 1.704%, down from Wednesday’s 1.732%.

Tech stocks were mixed, however. Microsoft (NASDAQ:) was modestly higher, with Apple (NASDAQ:) lower.

Meanwhile, Peloton Interactive (NASDAQ:), which went public at $29 late Wednesday, slumped 11.2% on its first day of trading. The slump disappointed IPO bulls who had hoped it would break a streak of weak opening trading days for highly visible companies going public.

After hours, Micron Technology (NASDAQ:) shares added to the late-day gloom with an earnings and revenue beat for its fiscal-fourth quarter but weak guidance for the first quarter. Shares were off 4.4% after hours after falling 1.7% in regular trading. The shares are up 53% for the year, based on Thursday’s close, but down nearly 25% from a 2018 peak of $64.66.

Energy shares were weak as oil prices struggled for much of the day. crude fell 8 cents to $56.41. crude ended up 35 cents to $62.74. was higher.