Stock market today: Dow ends flat as Apple slip weighs; Powell eyed

By Yasin Ebrahim -- The Dow closed flat Tuesday after struggling for direction as an Apple-infused stumble weighed on tech as Treasury yields continued to creep higher just a day ahead of a speech from Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell. 

The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 0.01%, or 3 points, the Nasdaq fell 0.6%, and the S&P 500 fell 0.2%.

Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) closed 2% lower adding to its losses from a day earlier as investors continued to fret about the impact from a COVID-led hit to iPhone production in China.

TF International Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo flagged “significant downside risks to Apple&iPhone supply chain,” estimating a shortfall of between 15 million and 20 million iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max shipments owing to the “Zhengzhou iPhone plant labor protests.”

Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) and Alphabet Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL) were also in red, pressured by an ongoing climb in Treasury yields as data showed that consumer spending, which accounts for about two-thirds of economic growth, remained robust.

The Conference Board’s consumer confidence gauge rose to 100.2 in November from 100.0 in September, beating economists’ forecast for a reading of 100.0.

“The confidence data suggests that the Fed needs to continue to push forward with the hawkish policy guidance that they have been delivering for the last few months,” Jefferies said in a note.

Investors will look to Fed chairman Jerome Powell's speech at the Hutchins Center on Fiscal and Monetary Policy at Brookings on Wednesday, for further clues on monetary policy. 

Chinese technology stocks, however, were in ascendency as Alibaba (NYSE:BABA), (NASDAQ:JD) and Baidu Inc (NASDAQ:BIDU) rallied amid speculation that recent social unrest in China may force Beijing to ease COVID-19 restrictions.

Energy stocks rebounded from a rout a day earlier amid hopes that OPEC and its allies, known as OPEC+,  are mulling production cuts at an upcoming meeting next week.

APA  (NASDAQ:APA), Halliburton Company (NYSE:HAL), and Coterra Energy Inc (NYSE:CTRA) were among the biggest sector gains rising 3%.

Railroad stocks were buoyed by reports that President Joe Biden is urging Congress to help break the deadlock in talks between labor unions and rail operators to avert a strike before the Dec. 9 deadline.

CSX Corporation (NASDAQ:CSX) Corp. Union Pacific Corporation (NYSE:UNP) and Norfolk Southern (NYSE:NSC) were up more than 1%.

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