Stock market today: Dow ends down as retailers weigh; House debt-ceiling vote eyed

Investing.com -- The Dow slipped Wednesday, pressured by a retail-led plunge in consumer stocks and weakness in tech just as investors eagerly await the outcome of a key vote on the debt-ceiling bill.

The S&P 500 was down 0.1%, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.4%, or 135 points lower, and the Nasdaq gained 0.6%.

Passage of the debt ceiling bill continued to dominate attention with just hours until the U.S. House of Representatives is expected to vote on the legislative measure to increase the debt ceiling and avoid a default.

The bill would require votes from both sides of the political aisle as Republicans have a narrow 222-213 majority in the House. The outcome of the vote is expected later on Wednesday. 

As well as uncertainty over passage of the debt-ceiling bill, falling consumer stocks amid pressure from Advance Auto Parts ,  also dragged the broader market lower.

Advance Auto Parts Inc (NYSE:AAP) cut its quarterly dividend and reported quarterly results that missed Wall Street estimates, sending the car parts retailer’s stock 35% lower.

Automakers including Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F) and General Motors Company (NYSE:GM), down more than 4% and 2% respectively, also weighed on consumer stocks.

Elsewhere on the earnings front, HP Inc (NYSE:HPQ) fell more than 5% after reporting mixed quarterly results as revenue fell short of expectations on pressure from weaker PC demand.

Personal systems revenue fell 29% year over year in Q2, “reflecting continued weakness in consumer spending and increased scrutiny on enterprise budgets,” Credit Suisse said in a note.

Tech, meanwhile, took a breather from its recent climb as the AI-driven rally in chipmakers and other related stocks mostly ran out of steam.

NVIDIA Corporation (NASDAQ:NVDA) fell more than 5%, C3 Ai Inc (NYSE:AI) slipped 9%, while Intel Corporation (NASDAQ:INTC) bucked the trend lower rising almost 5% as the chipmaker talked up the prospect of a turnaround and received a vote of confidence from Nvidia.

Nvidia CEO Jensen Huan said the company could source chips from Intel.

"You know that we also manufacture with Samsung (KS:005930), and we're open to manufacturing with Intel,” Huan said.

Energy continued its slide this week as oil prices fell further below $70 a barrel ahead of the upcoming OPEC+ meeting this weekend.

“We expect the nine major OPEC+ producers which announced voluntary production cuts in April to keep production unchanged, but utilize some partly offsetting hawkish rhetoric,” Goldman Sachs said in a note.

On the economic front, labor demand showed signs of strength as job openings topped forecasts in April, but bets on a Fed pause scored a major victory on Wednesday.

Philadelphia Federal Reserve President Patrick Harker and Fed Governor and vice chair nominee Philip Jefferson both said Wednesday that the central bank could pause rate hikes at next month's meeting.

Jefferson warned, however, that a pause wouldn’t imply the Fed’s rate hike cycle has come to an end.  

"A decision to hold our policy rate constant at a coming meeting should not be interpreted to mean that we have reached the peak rate for this cycle," Jefferson said on Wednesday. 

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