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Dow Rocked as Wall Street Digests Rising Risk of No-Deal Brexit

Last Updated September 23, 2020 1:10 PM
Francois Aure
Last Updated September 23, 2020 1:10 PM

The Dow Jones attempted to drive higher on Tuesday amid an eerie period of trade war calm, only to falter in late afternoon trading.

Assisting the stock market rally, Boeing, the Dow’s most heavily weighted stock, bounced 2% on positive 737 Max news, erasing a 4.6% drop from McDonald’s and offsetting a punishing capitulation from Travelers stock post-earnings.

A sharp correction dashed those gains late in the session after Brexit worries resurfaced when Boris Johnson lost a vote on the Brexit timetable, and a no-deal outcome reemerged as a possibility.

Dow Lifted by Boeing, Pounded by Brexit

Flipping the script from Monday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was the top-performing primary US stock market index , inching 13.64 points or 0.05% higher to 26,841.28

dow jones chart
The Dow Jones rose with Boeing on Tuesday but was rocked late in the day by an unexpected Brexit defeat. | Source: Yahoo Finance

The Nasdaq and S&P 500 slipped into the red, falling 0.57% and 0.19%, respectively.

Gold edged 0.17% higher to $1,490, while the oil price jumped than 1.7%  as the cautiously optimistic mood gave way on Wall Street.

Brexit Vote Hammers Dow Late in Session

Brexit progress has hit a snag in the UK Parliament, and Prime Minister Boris Johnson is threatening to pull his bill and call a snap election.

The risk mood had been calm for much of the day, and the British pound rose slightly against the US dollar after Johnson finally won a Brexit vote in Parliament, but the pound quickly plunged more than 0.55% when Johnson lost a subsequent vote on the timeline to debate the Brexit bill .

The damage to the Dow was done by the PM’s comments that no-deal preparations would be accelerated :

“And we now face further uncertainty and the EU must make up their minds over how to answer parliament’s request for a delay. And the first consequence, Mr. Speaker, is that the government must take the only responsible course and accelerate our preparations for a no-deal outcome.”

Trump Stirs Racial Tensions as Trade Talks Languish in Holding Pattern

While there has been little functional progress in President Donald Trump’s trade war, stock bulls are still hoping that a timeline remains in place to get a deal done before the 2020 election.

Dominating headlines, Trump’s use of the racially charged term “lynching” in a tweet has both Republicans and Democrats pushing back against the president .

While Trump’s tweet did not directly affect the market, it’s important to note that impeachment odds currently sit at their yearly highs. Pushback from Republican senators could increase the probability of his actual removal from office, which would likely increase market volatility. That’s particularly true since Elizabeth Warren continues to poll among the front runners for the Democratic nomination  in 2020.

Further pressuring the Dow, more bad data was seen on Tuesday morning when US housing sales data missed expectations . This adds to growing evidence of a consumer slowdown, alongside existing weakness in US manufacturing data.

Dow Stocks: Boeing and Disney Lead Rally

The Dow 30  was once again mixed, but a strong performance from Boeing helped to carry some momentum in the index. Some evidence of progress in the aerospace manufacturer’s efforts to get the 737 Max back in the air  helped brighten the mood for BA stock, while a mysterious order for its 787 Dreamliner  added to the better atmosphere in the Dow Jones’ most expensive component.

Disney was 2% higher after Verizon announced it would be giving away the former’s new streaming service for free as a promotion . This had the knock-on effect of sending Nasdaq stock Netflix sharply lower.

McDonald’s fell 4.6% after a miss in its earnings release , though it did not appear to be an entirely negative report. Procter & Gamble and United Technologies both enjoyed strong rallies after their earnings beat expectations .

It might have been a huge day for the Dow Jones, had it not been for a whopping 8.4% drop in Travelers Companies stock. A sizable miss in earnings  sent the insurance giant plummeting, knocking plenty of points off the index.