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Wall Street closes the day with modest losses

  • Investors continue to assess the potential impact of tax cuts.
  • US trade deficit expands to the highest level since March.
  • Following yesterday's sharp losses, tech shares rebound on Tuesday.

Major equity indexes in the United States started the day on a mixed-note and lost their traction to end lower as investors continued to diversify their portfolio based on their expectations of how the tax reform will affect the performance of different sectors. “Sentiment still remains that tax reform will get done and we will get a 20-percent tax rate, and that will boost earnings significantly,” Lindsey Bell, an investment strategist at CFRA Research, told Reuters on Tuesday.

The S&P 500 Utilities Sector (SPLRCU), which had been one of the main beneficiaries of the tax bill news, dropped sharply on Tuesday as investors booked some profits after Moody's in a recent report said that the risks from industry transition driven by technological developments would remain a near-term focus for the U.S. public power sector. With a 1.25% loss, SPLRCU was one of the weakest sub-indexes of the day. Despite rising crude oil prices, the S&P 500 Energy Sector (SPNY) closed the day 0.53% lower. 

Led by robust gains witnessed in Microsoft shares, the S&P 500 Information Technology Sector (SPLRCT) rose more than 1% during the session before closing the day 0.21% higher. Although the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite Index remained in the positive territory for the majority of the day, it pared its gains and closed at 6,762.36, down 13.00 points, or 0.19%, as the S&P 500 Telecom Services Sector (SPLRCL) suffered heavy losses. 

At the end of the session, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 109.41 points, or 0.45%, at 24,180.64, and the S&P 500 lost 9.87 points, or 0.37%, to 2,629.57, according to the latest available data on Reuters.

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