NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Major U.S. stock averages extended their losses on Tuesday afternoon after several record highs over the past eight weeks.
- The S&P 500 lost 0.32% to 1,795.15, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was off 0.59% to 15,914.62 and the Nasdaq slipped 0.2% to 4,037.20 as equity traders struggled to gauge the direction of the U.S. economic recovery. The Nasdaq's decline was fighting against some upward pressure from Apple (AAPL) as shares added 2.7% to $566.36 on news that the long-awaited deal between the smart devices giant and China Mobile (CHL) has started to commence.
- Large automakers enjoyed strong sales in November, beating estimates. Chrysler's sales jumped 16% to 142,275 units while Ford's sales were 7.1% higher. General Motor's sales increased by 13.7%. Despite this, Ford Motor (F) dropped 2.9% to $16.56 and General Motors (GM) was off 2.5% to $38.14 in afternoon trade.
- In stock news, Krispy Kreme Doughnuts (KKD) plummeted 20.2% to $19.59 after quarterly revenue missed analysts' estimates late yesterday. Tesla Motors (TSLA) jumped 16.5% to $144.70 after its electric car - which was being investigated for a U.S. recall - was cleared after a safety review by Germany's transportation regulator. OncoMed Pharmaceuticals (OMED) soared 97.9% to $27.70 on news the drug maker signed a $177 million agreement with Celgene (CELG) on potential cancer medicines.
- Data has been confusing for the markets. On one hand, strong manufacturing data this week points to U.S. economic growth and stronger corporate profits. On the other hand, a disappointing start to holiday season sales over the Thanksgiving period are highlighting continued weakness in this consumer-driven U.S. economy.
- State Street Global Advisors said during its outlook conference in New York Monday that 2014 should see a pick-up in U.S.-driven global growth as monetary policy remains accomodative, but will remain below historical trends. The combination of "benign growth" and easy money should foster an environment for taking on discretionary investments, risk, credit and equity-wise. Asset class diversification will be more difficult, they said. A main message broadcast during the panel discussions was that 2014 will be a year of recovery and profit after the stabilization of "traumas" in Europe and the U.S. in 2013.
- Japan held strong in the face of sinking global markets as its government is reportedly hammering out a $53 billion economic stimulus package this week. The Nikkei 225 increased 0.6% to a nearly six-year high of 15,749.66 as the yen dropped to its lowest level against the greenback since May, boosting exporter such as Canon and Kawasaki Heavy Industries.
--By Andrea Tse, Jane Searle and Joe Deaux in New York