U.S. stocks closed sharply lower Tuesday, snapping a two-day winning streak, as investors weighed a series of mixed data reports ahead of the government’s jobs report, due out later this week. Tuesday's declines were driven by losses in technology, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average tumbling more than 100 points, prodded by a 2 percent decline from tech giant Apple Inc.
Notable companies reporting quarterly results after the closing bell include News Corp., Groupon Inc. and Herbalife Ltd.
The Dow (INDEXDJX:.DJI) dropped 142.20 points, or 0.79 percent, to close at 17,928.20. The Standard & Poor's 500 (INDEXNASDAQ:.IXIC) lost 25.03 points, or 1.18 percent, to end at 2,089.46. The Nasdaq composite (INDEXSP:.INX) dropped 77.60 points, or 1.55 percent, to finish at 4,939.33.
U.S. stocks traded lower Tuesday as investors weighed a surge in the trade gap that revealed the economy most likely contracted in the first quarter. Declines from technology companies led the Dow lower, as Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) was the biggest decliner among the blue-chip index, falling 2 percent to close at $125.80.
Apple, which has a market capitalization of $737 billion, has shed around 5 percent since the iPhone-maker reported quarterly earnings last week that surpassed Wall Street estimates. However, shares of Apple have traded mixed since the company issued "no comment" last week on reports a key component in its Apple Watch was found defective.
Declines in biotech stocks led the Nasdaq lower, with losses from Celladon Corp. (NASDAQ:CLDN), Gilead Sciences Inc. (NASDAQ:GILD), Alexion Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ:ALXN) and Amgen Inc. (NASDAQ:AMGN).
Shares of Salesforce.com Inc. (NYSE:CRM) leaped more than 5 percent in afternoon trading Tuesday amid a Bloomberg report that software giant Microsoft is evaluating a bid for the cloud computing company. Meanwhile, Netflix Inc. (NASDAQ:NFLX) rallied more than 3 percent Tuesday, hitting a 52-week high of $577.10, after Bank of America Merrill Lynch boosted its rating on the video-streaming service’s stock to "buy" from "underperform," citing long-term subscriber growth and earnings potential.
U.S. oil closed at more than $60 a barrel Tuesday, its highest level since December as crude output in Libya slowed. West Texas Intermediate crude, the benchmark for U.S. oil prices, gained 2.49 percent to $60.40 a barrel, for June 15 delivery, on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude, the benchmark for global oil prices, rose $1.05 to $67.50 a barrel, for June 15 delivery, on the London ICE Futures Exchange.
Economists are looking ahead to Wednesday’s economic calendar, which includes a monthly report from ADP on private sector job creation in April.