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Stocks tumbled Tuesday after talk of impeachment proceedings against President Donald Trump gathered momentum and Trump criticized China's trading practices in a speech before the United Nations.
- The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished down Tuesday after talk of impeachment proceedings against President Donald Trump increased and Trump criticized the trading practices of China before the United Nations.
Wall Street Overview
The S&P 500 dropped 0.84% to 2,966.60, its biggest one-day slide since August 23. The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished down 142 points, or 0.53%, to 26,808. The Dow had risen earlier in the session as much as 129 points. The Nasdaq slipped 1.46%.
Talk about of possible impeachment proceedings against Trump made investors edgy. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who had previously resisted calls for impeachment, is reportedly planning to announce a formal impeachment inquiry of Trump later Tuesday, saying that "now we have the facts, we're ready."
A growing number of Democratic lawmakers are calling for impeaching the president over allegations that he and his personal lawyer attempted to push Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Joseph Biden.
Trump's lawyer Rudy Giuliani has been pushing the theory that Biden pressured Ukraine to fire the country's chief prosecutor to prevent the prosecutor from investigating a Ukrainian gas company with ties to Hunter Biden, the former vice president's son.
In response to critics, Trump said Tuesday afternoon that he would release transcripts of the controversial phone conversations, stating that "you will see it was a very friendly and totally appropriate call. No pressure and, unlike Joe Biden and his son, NO quid pro quo! This is nothing more than a continuation of the Greatest and most Destructive Witch Hunt of all time!"
The case was sparked by a whistle-blower complaint and House Intelligence Committee Chair Rep. Adam Schiff said via Twitter that "We have been informed by the whistleblower's counsel that their client would like to speak to our committee and has requested guidance from the Acting DNI (Director of National Intelligence) as to how to do so."
Schiff said that the committee could hear the whistle-blower's testimony as early as this week.
During his third address to the United Nations General Assembly in New York Tuesday, Trump criticized China, threatened to tighten sanctions on Iran, and said every nation has the "absolute right" to protect its borders.
"Not only has China declined to adopt promised reforms," Trump said, "it has embraced an economic model, dependent on massive market barriers, heavy state subsidies, currency manipulation, product dumping, forced technology transfers and the theft of intellectual property and also trade secrets on a grand scale."
Trump's comments on China followed U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin's earlier announcement that he and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer would meet with Chinese Vice Premier Liu He for trade negotiations the week of October 7. The Treasury secretary said some progress was made in deputy-level talks last week.
Meanwhile, the trade war is apparently having an impact on consumers. The Conference Board's Consumer Confidence Index fell to 125.1, down from 134.2 in August and well short of forecasts.
"The escalation in trade and tariff tensions in late August appears to have rattled consumers," said Lynn Franco, senior director of economic indicators at the Conference Board. "However, this pattern of uncertainty and volatility has persisted for much of the year and it appears confidence is plateauing."
While confidence could continue hovering around current levels for months to come, Franco said that "at some point this continued uncertainty will begin to diminish consumers' confidence in the expansion."
Britain's highest court ruled Tuesday that Boris Johnson's decision to suspend Parliament for five weeks ahead of the country's Brexit deadline was illegal. The ruling makes a no-deal Brexit less likely.
Nike (NKE) - Get Report shares were down slightly to $87.33 as the athletic apparel and equipment company prepared to report quarterly earnings after the market closes. The stock jumped in after-hours action after sales for the latest period topped analyst expectations. Nike is Real Money's Stock of the Day.
Other FAANG stocks lost ground. Facebook (FB) - Get Report plans to acquire CTRL-labs, a startup that makes a wristband to decode neuron signals to allow control of computing devices. Shares of the social media giant were down 3% to $181.28. Google's parent company, Alphabet (GOOG) - Get Report ended down, as did Apple (AAPL) - Get Report and Amazon (AMZN) - Get Report .
AutoZone (AZO) - Get Report fell 4.4% to $1,096.63 after the auto parts retailer reported weaker-than-expected fiscal fourth-quarter adjusted earnings, while same-store sales rose amid ongoing demand for after-market car parts and accessories at the company's brick-and-mortar retail stores.
Oil prices were falling throughout the day and Gorilla Trades strategist Ken Berman noted that Trump in his U.N. speech "reiterated that the U.S. wants to avoid a war with Iran, while urged further sanctions against the Persian state, causing a dip in the price of crude oil and energy-related stocks."
Brent crude contracts were down $2.17 to $61.56 a barrel, while West Texas Intermediate contracts, which are more tightly linked to U.S. gas prices, were off $1.71 to $56.93 a barrel.
In other economic news, the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond said the composite manufacturing index fell to negative 9 in September from 1 in August. The index had rebounded in August from July's negative 12. Economists were expecting reading of zero for September. Positive readings signal expansion, while negative readings indicate contraction.
The S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller U.S. National Home Price Index rose 3.2% annually in July, the same gain reported in June.
"Year-over-year home prices continued to gain, but at ever more modest rates," said Philip Murphy, managing director and global head of index governance at S&P Dow Jones Indices. "Charlotte surpassed Tampa to join the top three cities, and Seattle may be turning around from its recent negative streak of YOY price changes, improving from -1.3% in June to -0.06% in July."