US stocks pulled back on Tuesday after a three-day surge, as a profit warning from drugstore chain
Boots hit the pharma sector, while investors looked for more signs of strength in the economy in the wake of growth worries.
A surprise rebound in China’s manufacturing data and better-than-expected U.S. numbers pushed the S&P 500 to near six-month highs on Monday.
Data on Tuesday wasn’t particularly encouraging, with new orders for key U.S.-made capital goods slipping in February and shipments flat.
Orders for non-defense capital goods excluding aircraft or core capital goods orders, a closely watched proxy for business spending plans, slipped 0.1%. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast it to remain unchanged.
“We had a pretty good rally yesterday and I think part of it was overdone,” said Scott Brown, chief economist at Raymond James in St. Petersburg, Florida.
“We’re still in this mixed economic data range where you’re really not going to see it driving (markets) one way or the other.”
The biggest drag on the main U.S. indexes was Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc, which slid 12.1% after the company cut its 2019 profit growth forecast and reported a quarterly profit that missed Wall Street estimates.
The S&P consumer staples index was down 0.5%, leading declines in seven of the 11 major S&P sectors.
Drug retailer CVS Health Corp fell 2.5%, while drug wholesalers including McKesson Corp and AmerisourceBergen Corp dropped more than 1%.
At 10:15 a.m. ET the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 70.79 points, or 0.27%, at 26,187.63, the S&P 500 was down 0.56 points, or 0.02%, at 2,866.63 and the Nasdaq Composite was up 1.15 points, or 0.01%, at 7,830.06.
The S&P 500 is 2.3% shy of a record closing high it hit in late September, held back by trade uncertainties, the Federal Reserve’s plans to end monetary policy tightening and a chaotic Brexit.
Among other stocks, Dow Inc was up 5.2% in its stock market debut following the spin off from DowDuPont.
Airline stocks got a lift from Delta Air Lines Inc’s better-than-expected first-quarter profit forecast. Its shares jumped 5.2%, while the Dow Jones US Airlines index was up 2.6%.
Declining issues outnumbered advancers for a 1.16-to-1 ratio on the NYSE and a 1.14-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.
The S&P index recorded 28 new 52-week highs and two new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 33 new highs and 21 new lows.