Wall Street slips after rejection of Brexit timetable

Traders work on the floor at the New York Stock Exchange September 12, 2019. — Reuters pic
Traders work on the floor at the New York Stock Exchange September 12, 2019. — Reuters pic

NEW YORK, Oct 23 — US stocks ended lower yesterday, giving up early gains after British lawmakers rejected the government's proposed timetable for passing legislation to ratify its deal to exit the European Union.

The defeat in parliament made it unlikely that Britain would finalise its exit by Prime Minister Boris Johnson's October 31 target. Johnson said it was up to the EU to decide whether it wanted to delay Brexit and for how long.

Though the Brexit complications have had limited impact on US markets, they have contributed to investors' uncertainties about global financial and economic conditions, strategists said.

“Brexit by itself is not that big of a deal for equity investors,” said Oliver Pursche, chief market strategist at Bruderman Asset Management in New York. “The global economy is effectively suffering from 1,000 paper cuts. None of them are deadly, but in agreement, they're certainly painful.”

Earlier yesterday, the S&P 500 and the Dow Jones Industrial Average had risen modestly as upbeat forecasts from Procter & Gamble Co and United Technologies Corp offset lower-than-expected results from McDonald's Corp and Travelers Cos Inc.

Procter & Gamble shares gained 2.6 per cent and United Technologies advanced 2.2 per cent, while McDonald's shares fell 5.0 per cent and Travelers shares declined 8.3 per cent.

With yesterday's losses the S&P 500 fell below 3,000, but remained within 1 per cent of its record closing high in July.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 39.54 points, or 0.15 per cent, to 26,788.1, the S&P 500 lost 10.73 points, or 0.36 per cent, to 2,995.99 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 58.69 points, or 0.72 per cent, to 8,104.30.

Facebook Inc shares dropped 3.9 per cent, weighing heavily on the Nasdaq, as the social networking company faced an expanding probe into allegations that it put consumer data at risk and pushed up advertising rates.

Hasbro Inc shares dived 16.8 per cent as the toymaker's profits, which have been pinched by US tariffs on Chinese imports, came in well below Wall Street estimates.

In aftermarket trading, Texas Instruments Inc shares fell sharply and were last down 9 per cent.

Boeing Inc shares rose 1.8 per cent after United Technologies' chief financial officer said the company believed Boeing would make 737 MAX planes at its current rate for the rest of the year. The shares pared gains slightly, however, after Boeing announced the departure of the company's executive in charge of commercial airplanes.

Biogen Inc shares surged 26.1 per cent after the drugmaker's surprise announcement that it would seek US approval for its previously abandoned Alzheimer's treatment.

Harley-Davidson Inc shares jumped 8.0 per cent after the motorcycle maker beat profit expectations and reaffirmed its full-year shipment forecast.

Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by a 1.44-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 1.13-to-1 ratio favoured decliners.

The S&P 500 posted 46 new 52-week highs and two new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 83 new highs and 72 new lows.

Volume on US exchanges was 6.37 billion shares, compared to the 6.49 billion average for the full session over the last 20 trading days. — Reuters

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