US stocks end lower as political turmoil in Egypt worsens
The stock market ended slightly lower Tuesday after reports of intensifying political turmoil in Egypt offset good news about the U.S. economy.
Stocks rose most of the day on positive news about car sales, home prices and manufacturing. But major indexes turned lower after 1:40 p.m. after news emerged that Egypt’s military had drawn up plans to suspend the country’s constitution, dissolve its legislature and set up an interim government. Millions of protesters are demanding the ouster of President Mohammed Morsi.
The price of oil climbed close to $100 a barrel on concern that the crisis in the largest Arab nation could disrupt the flow of crude from the region.
The Standard & Poor’s 500 index had climbed as much as 9 points shortly before midday. It then fell as much as 8 points before closing down 0.88 point, or 0.1 percent, at 1,614.08
The Dow Jones industrial average fell 42.55 points, or 0.3 percent, to 14,932.41 The Nasdaq composite slipped 1.09 points, a fraction of a percentage point, at 3,433.40
Trading activity was lighter than normal, influenced by the upcoming July 4 holiday. The stock market will close at 1 p.m. today, ahead of the Independence Day holiday Thursday. The market reopens Friday.
Crude oil jumped about $1 a barrel after news emerged of the worsening political situation in Egypt. Oil closed up $1.61 at $99.60 a barrel in New York. It last crossed $100 on Sept. 14 of last year.
The market’s early gains were driven by a number of strong economic reports.
U.S. auto sales reached 7.8 million in the six months to June, the highest first-half total since 2007. That helped lift Ford’s stock 44 cents, or 2.8 percent, to $16.18.
U.S. factory orders rose in May, helped by a third-straight month of stronger business investment.
Also, U.S. home prices jumped 12.2 percent in May from a year earlier, the most in seven years, according to real-estate data provider CoreLogic. The increase suggests the housing recovery is strengthening.