Stocks were lower on Tuesday, Dec. 19, ahead of an expected vote by Congress on Donald Trump's signature tax reform bill.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average opened Tuesday at a new intraday high but reversed course and was down 48 points or 0.2% at midday on Tuesday. The S&P 500 declined 0.3% after it also opened at a fresh intraday high. The Nasdaq was off by 0.5%.
Trump hailed the market's reaction to the planned tax cuts, which could add around $1.5 trillion to the federal deficit over the next 10 years, following the 70th record close of 2017 on Monday, Dec. 18, for the Dow Jones Industrial Average -- the most ever in a single year.
In a tweet, Trump declared: DOW RISES 5000 POINTS ON THE YEAR FOR THE FIRST TIME EVER - MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!
House lawmakers are expected to vote on the tax bill Tuesday afternoon, with the Senate likely following on Wednesday, Dec. 20.
The tech sector was a laggard on Tuesday, while energy and consumer staples were outperforming.
Apple Inc. (AAPL) - Get Apple Inc. (AAPL) Report shares fell 1% on Tuesday to $174.60 following a report that suggested sales of its flagship iPhone X may not be robust enough to top Wall Street forecasts as customers turn to cheaper models and shun the $1,000 price tag.
Kindred Healthcare Inc. (KND) reached an agreement to be acquired for $9 a share by Humana Inc. (HUM) - Get Humana Inc. (HUM) Report and two private-equity firms, TPG Capital and Welsh, Carson, Anderson & Stowe. The total value of the deal is about $4.1 billion in cash, including debt.
Kindred shares fell 5.3% to $9.
In economic news, housing starts for November rose 3.3% for a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.297 million, the Commerce Department said. Economists had expected starts to fall 3.1%.
Global oil prices extended gains Tuesday after the operator of the Forties Pipeline System made no changes to the repair time estimate for the pivotal North Sea conduit.
West Texas Intermediate crude rose 0.5% to $57.45.
The dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of six global currencies, softened modestly to trade at 93.64.
European shares traded mixed and Asian stocks ended the session in similar fashion.
Bitcoin prices were also largely stable on Tuesday, as futures contracts from both the CME Group and the Cboe smoothed out price differentials between buying the cryptocurrency for immediate delivery or for settlement in the month of January.
Spot bitcoins on the bitstamp exchange were changing hands at $18,336.
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