U.S. stock indexes kept to a narrow range midday Tuesday, but some stocks advanced on President Trump’s decision to slap tariffs on imported washing machines and solar cells.
X The Nasdaq rose 0.6%, while the S&P 500 inched up nearly 0.2%. The Dow Jones industrial average fell 0.1%.
Volume in the stock market today increased modestly on both major exchanges.
Trump followed through Monday on a campaign promise that he would use tariffs to oppose trade practices that hurt U.S. companies. U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer announced the decision in a news release Monday.
CNN reported Tuesday on China’s reaction. China called the steps “an abuse.” What, if anything, China planned to do was not clear.
Meanwhile, South Korea said it planned to file a complaint with the World Trade Organization. South Korea called Trump’s steps “a clear violation” of WTO rules.
Mexico said it would respond with “all legal resources.”
How much impact the disputes will have on the U.S. stock market isn’t clear. U.S. markets initially took the situation in stride Tuesday. However, if other countries respond in kind, uncertainty could result, and the stock market hates uncertainty.
Appliance maker Whirlpool (WHR) gapped up 6% at Tuesday’s open but then reversed to a 3% gain.
Whirlpool will release Q4 results after the close Wednesday. The Street expects earnings to fall 9% vs. the year-ago quarter. Annual earnings are seen slipping 3%. In 2018, analysts expect earnings to rebound 14%.
Solar modules maker First Solar (FSLR) advanced 8% in the first 20 minutes of trade and then reversed to a 2% gain.
Elsewhere, several stocks approached possible buy points.
Bank of the Ozarks (OZRK) edged toward a 53.06 buy point in a cup-with-handle pattern. The southeast bank is expected to grow earnings 25% in 2018. Earnings increased 15% last year.
Marriott Vacations Worldwide (VAC) rose 3.14 to 143.89, moving above a 143.63 buy point. The stock then reversed under the entry.
Oil and gas field services provider Core Laboratories (CLB) crawled 1.34 to 120.61, clearing a 119.99 buy point but then slipping back under the buy point. Core will report Q4 results before the open Feb. 1. The Street’s consensus view for 2017 earnings is $1.99 a share, which would be a 32% increase. Earnings growth is expected to pick up to 39% in 2018.
Among highly rated stocks, Netflix (NFLX) gapped up 10% in heavy volume. Netflix reported that the company added 6.36 million international subscribers in Q4, about 25% more than expected.
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