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Dec. 10, 2019, 4:50 p.m. EST

Stocks end lower for second day ahead of Fed rate decision, U.S.-China trade deadline

Fed kicks off two-day policy meeting

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By Mark DeCambre, MarketWatch , Joy Wiltermuth

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“I’m not afraid of tariffs and it’s not hard for me to find good stocks to invest in. If a company has such a fragile balance sheet that a couple of tariffs would do them in — it’s not a company I’d invest in anyway.”

See : S&P 500 earnings upside in 2020 will ‘primarily depend’ on U.S.-China trade deal says JPMorgan Chase & Co

The Fed started its two-day policy meeting where it is expected to hold steady on benchmark interest rates following a stellar November jobs report, but investors will be eager to glean details on the outlook for monetary policy. The WSJ reported that Fed Chairman Jerome Powell’s main assignment will be to forge consensus toward a “broader revamp of the Fed’s rate-setting strategy” as he encourages the central bank to let inflation run above its annual 2% target.

“The question will be how dovish is the ‘hold’ that the Fed will deliver tomorrow,” Jim McDonald, chief investment strategist at Northern Trust told MarketWatch. “That’s really the only area of potential surprise.”

On the U.S. economic data front, a report on small-business owners’ confidence in the U.S. economy rose in November, its largest month-over-month gain since May 2018, as owners continued to invest, hire and increase wages, according to the National Federation of Independent Business.

A final estimate of productivity and labor costs in the third quarter also showed productivity falling 0.2% versus the initial estimate of a 0.3% decline. Economists polled by MarketWatch expected the number to be revised to a 0.1% contraction. Unit-labor costs, meanwhile, rose 2.5% in the quarter, more slowly than the initial 3.6% estimate and lower than the 3.0% growth expected by economists.

Check out : Many U.S. factories now require white-collar education for blue-collar work

Which stocks are in focus?

Shares of Netflix Inc . /zigman2/quotes/202353025/composite NFLX -0.05%  closed 3.1% lower Tuesday, after Needham analyst Laura Martin downgraded the stock to underperform from hold, as she predicted the online streaming service will lose 4 million subscribers next year amid tough competition from rivals.

NortonLifeLock Inc . /zigman2/quotes/200957356/composite NLOK +0.43%  attracted interest in a possible buyout from several suitors, including rival McAfee LLC, according to a Monday-evening WSJ report. Shares rose 3.5%.

Stitch Fix Inc.’s /zigman2/quotes/208173073/composite SFIX +1.93% stock rallied 4.8% after the online personal-styling service reported first-quarter results that exceeded analysts’ estimates.

AutoZone Inc . shares /zigman2/quotes/209114484/composite AZO +1.47% rose 6.9% Tuesday, after the car parts retailer beat estimates for its fiscal first quarter.

Designer Brands Inc . /zigman2/quotes/204656556/composite DBI +2.59% stock tumbled 16.2% after the accessories retailer reported third-quarter profit that missed expectations and cut its guidance.

Chewy Inc . /zigman2/quotes/212690528/composite CHWY -0.20%  shares rose 5.5% after the online pet supply retailer late-Monday posted better-than-expected results for the quarter.

Peloton Interactive Inc . /zigman2/quotes/208035743/composite PTON -0.44%  shares fell 5.7% after short seller Citron Research penned a negative report on the maker of exercise equipment.

How are other markets faring?

The yield on the 10-year U.S. Treasury note /zigman2/quotes/211347051/realtime BX:TMUBMUSD10Y -2.00% was up less than a basis point at 1.833% Tuesday amid trade developments.

West Texas Intermediate crude for January delivery /zigman2/quotes/209723652/delayed CLF22 +0.45% on the New York Mercantile Exchange rose 22 cents, or 0.4%, to $59.24 a barrel, as trade optimism waxed.

February gold  /zigman2/quotes/210035396/delayed GCG20 +0.17%  on Comex added $3.20, or 0.2%, to settle at $1,468.10 an ounce as China and the Fed were in focus.

The U.S. dollar, as measured by the ICE U.S. Dollar Index /zigman2/quotes/210598269/delayed DXY -0.05% , declined 0.1% at 97.50 against a basket of a half-dozen currency peers.

In Europe, the Stoxx 600 Europe index /zigman2/quotes/210599654/delayed XX:SXXP -0.86% closed 0.3% lower at 405.34.

In Asia overnight Friday, the Hang Seng /zigman2/quotes/210598030/delayed HK:HSI -1.08%  closed off 0.2%, the China CSI 300 /zigman2/quotes/210598128/delayed XX:000300 +0.12%  inched up 0.1%, while the Shanghai Composite Index /zigman2/quotes/210598127/delayed CN:SHCOMP +0.31% gained about 0.1%, following a similar gain on Monday. Japan’s Nikkei 225 /zigman2/quotes/210597971/delayed JP:NIK -0.39%  retreated 0.1%.

/zigman2/quotes/202353025/composite
US : U.S.: Nasdaq
$ 386.00
-0.19 -0.05%
Volume: 4.08M
Feb. 20, 2020 4:15p
P/E Ratio
93.38
Dividend Yield
N/A
Market Cap
$169.38 billion
Rev. per Employee
$2.22M
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/200957356/composite
US : U.S.: Nasdaq
$ 20.79
+0.09 +0.43%
Volume: 9.24M
Feb. 20, 2020 4:15p
P/E Ratio
3.64
Dividend Yield
2.41%
Market Cap
$12.48 billion
Rev. per Employee
$403,729
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/208173073/composite
US : U.S.: Nasdaq
$ 29.08
+0.55 +1.93%
Volume: 1.67M
Feb. 20, 2020 4:00p
P/E Ratio
115.58
Dividend Yield
N/A
Market Cap
$2.96 billion
Rev. per Employee
$207,811
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/209114484/composite
US : U.S.: NYSE
$ 1,082.52
+15.73 +1.47%
Volume: 219,089
Feb. 20, 2020 6:30p
P/E Ratio
16.82
Dividend Yield
N/A
Market Cap
$25.54 billion
Rev. per Employee
$125,680
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/204656556/composite
US : U.S.: NYSE
$ 15.87
+0.40 +2.59%
Volume: 940,816
Feb. 20, 2020 6:30p
P/E Ratio
20.02
Dividend Yield
6.30%
Market Cap
$1.14 billion
Rev. per Employee
$265,311
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/212690528/composite
US : U.S.: NYSE
$ 29.24
-0.06 -0.20%
Volume: 1.16M
Feb. 20, 2020 6:30p
P/E Ratio
N/A
Dividend Yield
N/A
Market Cap
$11.66 billion
Rev. per Employee
N/A
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/208035743/composite
US : U.S.: Nasdaq
$ 26.98
-0.12 -0.44%
Volume: 3.73M
Feb. 20, 2020 4:00p
P/E Ratio
N/A
Dividend Yield
N/A
Market Cap
$7.57 billion
Rev. per Employee
N/A
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/211347051/realtime
add Add to watchlist BX:TMUBMUSD10Y
BX : Tullett Prebon
1.49
-0.03 -2.00%
Volume: 0.00
Feb. 21, 2020 2:25a
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/zigman2/quotes/209723652/delayed
US : U.S.: Nymex
$ 51.90
+0.23 +0.45%
Volume: 11.00
Feb. 20, 2020 5:09p
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/210035396/delayed
US : U.S.: Nymex
$ 1,619.30
+2.70 +0.17%
Volume: 1.00
Feb. 20, 2020 6:14p
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/210598269/delayed
US : U.S.: ICE Futures U.S.
99.82
-0.05 -0.05%
Volume: 0.00
Feb. 21, 2020 2:15a
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/zigman2/quotes/210599654/delayed
XX : STOXX
430.19
-3.71 -0.86%
Volume: 0.00
Feb. 20, 2020 5:50p
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/210598030/delayed
HK : Hong Kong Exchange
27,311.59
-297.57 -1.08%
Volume: 1.37M
Feb. 21, 2020 3:10p
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/210598128/delayed
XX : China Securities Index
4,149.49
+4.83 +0.12%
Volume: 21.72B
Feb. 21, 2020 3:00p
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/210598127/delayed
CN : China: Shanghai
3,039.67
+9.52 +0.31%
Volume: 36.46B
Feb. 21, 2020 3:01p
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/210597971/delayed
JP : Nikkei
23,386.74
-92.41 -0.39%
Volume: 0.00
Feb. 21, 2020 3:15p
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Mark DeCambre is MarketWatch's markets editor. He is based in New York. Follow him on Twitter @mdecambre. Joy Wiltermuth is a MarketWatch markets reporter and editor based in New York.

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