US stocks end slightly lower for a second day

Without any big economic news or blowout company earnings to respond to, investors found little to get excited about Tuesday and sent the stock market lower for the second day in a row.

A few companies grabbed headlines for posting poor quarterly results or consummating long-running merger talks Tuesday. But the broader market barely budged for much of the day, then closed slightly lower. Investors didn’t see enough that they liked to drive up a market that hit three record highs last week.

“It’s a market that is looking for some direction overall,” said J.J. Kinahan, chief strategist with TD Ameritrade. “We’ve had such a nice run, I think you’re seeing people take some profits.”

The Standard & Poor’s 500 index slipped 9.54 points, or 0.5 percent, to close at 1,867.63. The Dow Jones industrial average lost 67.43 points, or 0.4 percent, to 16,351.25. The Nasdaq composite fell 27.26 points, or 0.6 percent, to 4,307.19.

The S&P 500 and the Nasdaq are both up for the year, though they lost some ground from the start of the week. The S&P 500 is up 1 percent, while the Nasdaq is up 3.1 percent. The Dow is down 1.4 percent so far this year.

General Motors, Men’s Wearhouse and American Eagle Outfitters were among the stocks in focus Tuesday.

GM dropped $1.91, or 5.1 percent, to $35.18 on news that a congressional committee is investigating the way the automaker and a federal safety agency handled a deadly ignition switch problem in compact cars.

The stocks of teen retailers American Eagle Outfitters and Urban Outfitters took a beating.

American Eagle tumbled $1.11, or 7.8 percent, to $13.10 after the store chain issued a fiscal first-quarter outlook that fell short of Wall Street’s expectations. The company also reported an 89 percent slide in its fourth-quarter net income as winter storms weighed on sales.

Urban Outfitters fell $1.60, or 4.3 percent, to $35.91 after reporting its own results.

Investors cheered word that Men’s Wearhouse agreed to buy Jos. A. Bank for $1.8 billion after months of on-again, off-again talks. Men’s Wearhouse rose $2.57, or 4.7 percent, to $57.14. Jos. A. Bank climbed $2.39, or 3.9 percent, to $64.22.

The declines were broad. Nine of the 10 sectors in the S&P 500 index fell, led by energy stocks. The one sector that rose, consumer staples, eked out a gain of just 0.01 percent. Stocks of those companies, which make consumer staple goods like soft drinks and detergents, tend to be in favor when investors are feeling cautious and want low-risk investments that produce steady income. Among consumer staples companies, PepsiCo rose $1.08, or 1.3 percent, to $82.81.

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